The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has registered Apple’s patent for "generating synthetic group selfies."
According to the application, the user of an Apple device using the software will be able to invite several people to create synthetic group selfies. All participants will need to take a photo of themselves on their devices. Then the algorithm will combine several shots into one so that the result looks like an ordinary group selfie.
The patent application description states that users will be able to change their position on the generated synthetic group selfies, and each of the participants will be able to save their own copies of such a photo.
The patent is not related to the coronavirus pandemic and the need to maintain social distance. Apple applied in July 2018 and received approval on June 2, 2020. But despite the approval, the company may abandon the practical use of the described technology and won't release it at all.
Nevertheless, the technology seems to be ideal for creating "socially distant" selfies. The function can be used when physically when it is not possible to put everyone on one photo.