There was a time, not very long ago, when all the news about innovative consumer imaging technology came out of the camera industry. Well, that was then and this is very definitely the smartphone-era now.

The race in the smartphone market appears to be all about image capture of late as the device has clearly become the "go to" picture taker for most of today's consumers, and now Apple has announced a patent for an imaging feature they are calling "super-resolution based on optical image stabilization."

What this Apple patent means to you is that one of your future iPhones (Apple does not make it clear exactly when this tech will be implemented) will be enabled to rapidly take a series of images at a range of slightly offset angles. The images captured will then be stitched together by in-camera image processing software, resulting in that aforementioned "super-resolution" image.

The optical image stabilization part of the equation will help ensure the captured images are in perfect focus. The result will be more accurately rendered images at higher resolution without adding megapixels.

So then, the war for the best image-capture device in the smartphone world is on like Donky Kong. In the last year alone we've seen Nokia come to market with the Lumia 1020's 41MP capture capability; LG and the G2's optical image stabilization made a splash late last year; Samsung move to 16MP sensors in the Galaxy line was announced earlier this year; and Oppo recently introduced their new Find 7, a larger screen (5.5-inch) model that boasts a 50-megapixel resolution.

Add to this the fact HTC literally just unveiled their new dual lens tech on the HTC One, with its two lenses on the backside, a feature dubbed Duo Camera, and it's not a stretch to say smartphone manufacturers may just be getting started when it comes to offering you the only device you'll ever need when it comes to capturing life's precious memories.

Where does all this leave the struggling digital camera market? Apparently chasing their tail as a recent Market Research Report claims shipment volume of the major digital camera brands (Nikon, Canon, Sony, etc) slipped by over 30 percent in 2013. According the report, global digital camera shipment volume was estimated at about 66.7 million units in 2013, down 35.5 percent compared to 2012 and over 50 percent from the 2010 numbers.

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