Apple iVideoPhone in the Works?

Reports are surfacing that a future version of the Apple iPhone may be a videophone. As Gizmodo reports, a recent iPhone patent refers to videoconferencing functionality.

The patent application reads:

In some embodiments, the functions may include telephoning, video conferencing, e-mailing, instant messaging, blogging, digital photographing, digital videoing, Web browsing, digital music playing, and/or digital video playing. Instructions for performing these functions may be included in a computer-readable storage medium or other computer program product configured for execution by one or more processors.

It adds that in other embodiments:

...an optical sensor is located on the back of the device, opposite the touch screen display on the front of the device, so that the touch screen display may be used as a viewfinder for either still and/or video image acquisition. In some embodiments, an optical sensor is located on the front of the device so that the user's image may be obtained for videoconferencing while the user views the other video conference participants on the touch screen display. In some embodiments, the position of the optical sensor can be changed by the user (e.g., by rotating the lens and the sensor in the device housing) so that a single optical sensor may be used along with the touch screen display for both video conferencing and still and/or video image acquisition.

According to Gizmodo, videoconferencing may have been down the line in priorities after GPS and 3G capabilities. Now that those features are standard, Apple may be looking to include video, including the simple act of recording moving images, in the group of next major enhancements to the iPhone.