If it sounds like Lytro's technology, it is. In fact, Apple's patent, No. 8,593,564 for a "Digital camera including refocusable imaging mode adaptor," even cites Lytro as prior art. Apple points out, however, its own microlens array can produce higher-quality images due to a higher spatial resolution.
Apple's patent says the following about its tech:
A digital camera system configurable to operate in a low-resolution refocusable mode and a high-resolution non-refocusable mode comprising: a camera body; an image sensor mounted in the camera body having a plurality of sensor pixels for capturing a digital image; an imaging lens for forming an image of a scene onto an image plane, the imaging lens having an aperture; and an adaptor that can be inserted between the imaging lens and the image sensor to provide the low-resolution refocusable mode and can be removed to provide the high-resolution non-refocusable mode, the adaptor including a microlens array with a plurality of microlenses; wherein when the adaptor is inserted to provide the low-resolution refocusable mode, the microlens array is positioned between the imaging lens and the image sensor.Yes, it's a lot of techno-geek-speak, but it is essentially a camera that, as we said, allows an image to be refocused after the fact.
Considering how easy it is to blur an image on a small device by moving it only slightly, this sort of addition would probably be a welcome feature for end users.
It's not unique, though. In addition to the Lytro system, Nokia recently released an app -- yes, an app -- that allows some of its Lumia cameras to do the same thing. The Nokia Refocus app allows users to take a photo first and choose what they want in focus later.
It's unclear if the tech will ever make it into a real product. A patent award does not mean that a company will necessary take functionality into the real world.