Apple has filed a patent for a remote control that will let you take photos from an iPhone without needing to touch the handset itself.
The patent, as spotted by Apple Insider, details a remote control that communicates with an iPhone or iPod using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Apart from the expected controls for taking photos and videos, it is also depicted in the application as having a screen. This could be used as a live viewfinder that displays the same image that the iPhone's camera is seeing in real time, or as a screen to play back photos and videos.
Apart from simple applications like self portraits and group shots, the remote also could be used to keep tabs on the state of the iPhone. For example, once you have taken a photo, the remote could give you confirmation that it was successful with a visual indication such as a dedicated light.
The remote's screen can be used to edit and delete images as required. Though there are several ways to trigger an iPhone's shutter release remotely — for example, using the headset's volume buttons — they don't generally give you immediate visual feedback on a separate screen.
The patent was filed in 2009. While not all Apple patent filings end up becoming tangible products, the iPhone remote seems like a fairly easy (and useful) product to bring to market.