iPhone camera is one of the most current popular cameras and taking iPhone photography seriously is now possible.
Recently, Apple is granted a camera-related patent among 31 other published patents. This new patent is designed to deliver iOS devices with add-on and swappable camera lenses to offer optical functions such as lens zoom, anti-shake and autofocus.
iPhone photographers are usually stuck with built-in lens of the smartphone. But with this new technology, the iPhone back panel will be removable and owners can easily swap lenses similar to mirrorless and DSLR cameras. With this patent, Apple has also raised the possibility of a panel with two different built-in lenses at the opposite corners. Basically, with the two lenses, users can switch to the telephoto lens or a different filter by flipping the panel around to use the additional glass.
Although the iPhone camera has gone a myriad of improvements over the years, there is a limit to what type of optics can be incorporated to the iPhone given the limited space provided to achieve a multifunction and ultracompact camera. The solution that Apple might be eyeing is swappable lenses. As such, we might be seeing a magnetic ring mounting point at the back of the iPhone, allowing accessories with three swappable lenses on a pinwheel to be attached.
The aforementioned patent was filed back in Q4 2012 by Lead Camera Design Engineer for iPhone and iPod Jeffrey Gleason and Optical Engineer Misha Scepanovic as inventors. It is worth noting there has been a previous patent filed in 2010 by Apple Senior Camera Engineer Richard Tsai that suggests iPhones could feature detachable backs and customizable lenses. Meanwhile, companies like Olloclip have been producing some detachable camera lenses for iOS devices.
The concept is pretty radical and we might not see this feature with the iPhone ever, but then again there is no way to say for sure. Either way, this patent is an indicator that Apple is interested to innovate its devices, which is good news for everyone who uses their iPhones as their primary cameras.