Apple Wins Patents for Removable-Lens iPhone Designs

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For those intrigued by the notion of add-on lenses for smartphones but put off by the bulky design, Apple offers hope with a couple of recently patented designs for swapping camera components on an iPhone without turning it into an unwieldy monster.

Patent 8,639,106 describes “magnetic add-on lenses with alignment ridge.” The novelty seems to be more in the iPhone mounting than the lens itself —  the phone would be equipped with contacts to recognize and align the lens and even drive a physical autofocus motor.

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Patent 8,638,369 is for a “back panel for a portable electronic device with different camera lens options.” This one follows current conventions of combining a lens and image sensor into a single add-on assembly, but in this case they’re baked into a phone back panel only slightly bulkier than a standard iPhone.

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Of course, neither of these has the brutal, “I’m a serious photographer” majesty of attaching 4 pounds of DSLR telephoto power to 4 ounces of camera… but we’ll let you decide whether or not that’s a good thing.

(via Apple Insider)

  • Yo

    Yay! A patent! Now we’ll never see any innovation in this area.

  • Mike

    In the future, we will walk around with super slim smartphones because they won’t fit in our pockets which will be full of add on gadgets that we can’t go without.

  • Carl Meyer

    Failed R&D to deter competition, isn’t it brilliant?

  • Thren3019

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  • Norshan Nusi

    Splinter Cell.

  • DJJonosound

    Google “Izzi Orbit Pro”
    I wonder whats going to happen with that… considering they beat apple to it.