A Removable Lens Camera For The iPhone?


Good news for picky phone photographers. Apple, in an attempt to revolutionize the way people take pictures with cameras on its smartphones, filed a patent for an iPhone with a swappable glass, in order to provide the flexibility that only a camera with interchangeable lenses can.

Wondering what this is?

People tend to like Apple because it keeps its eyes open and is conscious of customer sentiment. Those of you who have the iPhone know that the camera isn’t one of its strongest points. Even the latest iPhone 5 has the same 8 megapixel camera found in the previous iPhone 4S model (albeit with software enhancements). Apple is apparently aware of this deficiency and has decided to do something about it.

The title of the Apple patent is called: “Back Panel for a Portable Electronic Device with Different Camera Lens Options”. This patent offers the capacity to add additional lenses and filters to a mobile camera.

The lens is said to be attached to the removable back panel, with the possibility of swapping out multiple lenses on a single panel, like one would with a DSLR. We can’t help wondering if this would be slightly ludicrous and very non-Apple-like. They could just be wanting to own the patent to prevent another company from doing it (without having to ante up to Apple first). Either way, interchangeable camera phone lenses is certainly a new innovation.

Add to that, the fact that each comes with mounts for them – and this can truly be described as amazing.

Here’s how Apple describes the application:

“It would be desirable to provide a structure for a compact device that allows the end user to reconfigure the optical arrangement of the device while retaining the benefits of assembling the device using a pre-assembled digital imaging subsystem.”

Apple says that this proposed new iPhone camera consists of a digital imaging subsystem that contains a lens with an optical axis, a removable back panel providing access to the subsystem.

The back panel with the lens in it is expected to fit in the imaging system and the iPhone case holds it in place. The lens and filter applications contain a macro lens, an IR-cut filter, and a lens baffle – lens combination.

According to Apple, this may also offer the possibility of two lenses built-into a panel at opposite corners. Users will just need to flip the panel around to be able to switch the lens or use a different filter.

We have known Apple not to incline towards anything replaceable, and this patent may change the way smartphone cameras are used or just remain an innovative idea. But don’t be surprised if in future, wedding photographers turn up at weddings with nothing other than an iPhone and replaceable plates.

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