Apple Explores Adding a Lens Mounting System to the iPhone

Apple's granted patents and patent applications over the last couple of months have revealed a significant interest in camera lens systems that attach to the iPhone's existing camera, enhancing its photo taking capabilities much like third-party lens attachment solutions from companies like Olloclip.

In a newly published patent application (via Patently Apple), Apple explores a bayonet lens attachment mechanism to fix a separate lens to an iPhone. Bayonet is a type of pin-based of lens mount that is designed to precisely align the mechanical and electrical features between a lens and a body in a traditional camera, preventing the components from rotating.

According to Apple, this attachment method is superior to other solutions such as a separate case that lenses can be mounted to or a magnetic attachment system that may not be strong enough to keep a lens attached while in motion. Apple describes both a case and a magnetic mount as "undesirable" and "unsightly."

olloclip2013_2

Detachable lenses from third-party manufacturer Olloclip

The application explains in detail how a lens can be mounted to an iPhone or other device through a bayonet attachment, with the iPhone or other device possessing a cavity that the can attach to a lens and the bayonets being located around the aperture of the lens. It also describes quick release methods, should a device with a lens attached by dropped or otherwise damaged.

Attachment mechanisms are provided. The attachment mechanisms may be configured to couple accessory devices, such as lens devices to an electronic device. For example, a lens may be coupled to the exterior of an electronic device with first and second attachment mechanisms.

While there are a range of third-party add-on lenses for the iPhone and the iPad, none of the available solutions are able to use an attachment method as Apple describes due to the fact that such a system would have to be manufactured directly into the iPhone. Instead, they use magnets, cases, or other less than ideal attachment solutions that would be unable to compete with a native solution from Apple, should the company choose to pursue camera enhancements in the form of lens attachments.

applelensattachment

A drawing of Apple's lens attachment method

Apple has also explored other attachment methods in recent years, including a magnetic lens attachment system that was detailed in a patent granted in January and a similar lens attachment system that worked with a removable back panel used to swap in different lenses, unveiled in 2012.

Top Rated Comments

AngerDanger Avatar
114 months ago
If anybody was curious about the numbers in the image…

206. Razor-sharp edge
234. Constant shadow, unaffected by any light source
235. Makes a neat sound if you run your finger along it
236. Candy coating
238. Space available for rent

Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DFZD Avatar
114 months ago
Or another Time-wasting-bait for Samsung, for all we know.

Apple hasn't really done anything substantial for the niche market or the power user for a very long time now, with the sole unapologetic exception of Mac Pro.

Even that seems like an attempt to try and convert Professionals into Prosumers. (Really who does that?? Apple!)
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LordVic Avatar
114 months ago
It would be better to add two or three dedicated sensor + lens combinations, and use digital zoom to implement a zoom. Another possibility might be to have a single sensor, and shift two different lenses above it. Right now the lens is around 30mm (equivalent). If we had a second 85mm (equivalent) macro/portrait lens to choose, that would be awesome. I truly believe it would be possible to fit it in the iPhone, if not this year, then next year.

if you EVER have to rely on Digital zoom to get a camera feature, then the camera is bad and designed wrong.

Digital zoom is the devil. DEVIL!

----------

I really can't see Apple doing this with a bayonet. They would be the ones to use magnets, as it doesn't affect the way the device looks. Magnets can be strong as hell for such small objects.

its apple. They'll throw patents at the Patent office for literally anything they think of, Even if they never implement it.

I see this being one of them. Maybe they'll use the idea in some other method, but liklihood you'll never see it.

similar to their NFC patents.... despite never actually using NFC
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ScottishDuck Avatar
114 months ago
In other news, Canon and Nikon **** themselves with fear.
Yeah I don't see the DSLR market caring too much about phone cameras.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
baryon Avatar
114 months ago
I really can't see Apple doing this with a bayonet. They would be the ones to use magnets, as it doesn't affect the way the device looks. Magnets can be strong as hell for such small objects.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cocky jeremy Avatar
114 months ago
In other news, Canon and Nikon **** themselves with fear.

No. They don't care at all. People don't choose DSLR's over phones. They choose both. One has no effect on the other. Even hobbyist photographers are going to buy actual cameras. Hell, most parents will buy a camera for shots of their kids. This is in no way any threat to DSLR's.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

Can't Get an iPhone 14 Pro? Here's Why You Should Wait for the iPhone 15 Ultra

Monday December 5, 2022 11:44 am PST by
Due to production issues at Apple supplier factories in China, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are backordered and basically out of stock at every store. If you were planning to gift or receive an iPhone 14 Pro model for the holidays and didn't already get one, you're basically out of luck because they're gone until late December. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more ...
iPhone Measure Height

Newer iPhones Allow You to Measure Someone's Height Instantly — Here's How

Saturday December 3, 2022 10:23 am PST by
iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, and iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models feature a LiDAR Scanner next to the rear camera that can be used to measure a person's height instantly in Apple's preinstalled Measure app. To measure a person's height, simply open the Measure app, point your iPhone at the person you want to measure, and make sure they are visible on the screen from...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

iOS 16.2 for iPhone Launching This Month With These 8 New Features

Thursday December 1, 2022 8:44 am PST by
Apple plans to publicly release iOS 16.2 for the iPhone in mid-December, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The update remains in beta testing for now, with at least eight new features and changes already uncovered so far. iOS 16.2 introduces a number of new features, including Apple's new whiteboard app Freeform, two new Lock Screen widgets for Sleep and Medications, the ability to hide...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

Major RAM Upgrade Coming to Next-Generation MacBook Pro

Friday December 2, 2022 2:03 am PST by
The next-generation MacBook Pro models could feature faster RAM, according to a recent report from a reliable source. MacRumors Forums member "Amethyst," who accurately revealed details about the Mac Studio and Studio Display before those products were announced, recently provided information about Apple's upcoming 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models. The new machines are expected to feature...
iOS 16

When Will iOS 16.2 Launch?

Friday December 2, 2022 2:13 pm PST by
Apple in late October began testing iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 updates, providing betas to both developers and public beta testers. As of now, we've had four total betas, with the fourth beta having been released earlier this week. iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 are expected before the end of the year, and we thought we'd try to narrow down the launch timeline. With only four betas released since...
apple ar headset concept 1

Kuo: Apple Headset Shipments Potentially Delayed Until Second Half of 2023

Sunday December 4, 2022 7:38 am PST by
Mass shipments of Apple's long-rumored AR/VR headset may be delayed until the second half of 2023 due to unspecified "software-related issues," according to the latest information shared today by tech analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple headset render by Ian Zelbo Kuo said mass shipments of components for the headset are still likely to begin in the first half of 2023, but he believes that mass...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Pro Rumored to Have These 5 Exclusive Features

Saturday December 3, 2022 10:55 am PST by
While we're still around nine months away from Apple unveiling the iPhone 15 lineup, rumors already suggest that the higher-end Pro models will have even more exclusive features than usual compared to the standard models next year. There are currently at least five features rumored to be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models:A17 chip: iPhone 15 Pro models will be equipped with an A17 Bionic...
nothing phone 2

Nothing Plans to Launch Smartphone in US to Take on Apple's iPhone

Monday December 5, 2022 12:38 am PST by
UK-based tech company Nothing plans to launch a smartphone in the US to directly compete with Apple's iPhone, according to a new report out today. In an interview with CNBC, Nothing CEO Carl Pei said the startup is in "early conversations" with American cellular carriers about launching a new phone in the US, but he stopped short of naming any of the carriers or the phone model. Nothing...
introducing apple music sing

Apple Music Adding a Karaoke Experience With Apple Music Sing

Tuesday December 6, 2022 7:09 am PST by
Apple today announced Apple Music Sing, a new feature in Apple Music that lets users sing their favorite songs with adjustable vocals and more. Apple Music Sing will utilize Apple Music's real-time lyrics to allow users to sing to their favorite songs using adjustable vocals, background vocals, and duet view to allow more than one singer.Apple Music Sing includes: Adjustable vocals: Users...