Patent Application Details Interchangeable Camera Lens on iPhone

In another patent application that was filed by Apple on Thursday, it appears that the Cupertino-based company, if not actually gearing up to incorporate into the device, is researching interchangeable camera lenses for its flagship handset, the iPhone.

You get ready to snap a photo but then suddenly realize your object of focus would look much more wholesome and appealing in the final product if you use a fisheye lens. So you snap off the existing lens and install the desired one with ease – such a situation could be realistic if a new patent filed by Apple did happen to come to fruition.

At the moment, the iPhone doesn’t allow users to change the lens for the camera. But the patent application, titled “Back Panel for a Portable Electronic Device with Different Camera Lens Options,” describes a system that would bring swapable optics to the iPhone, if it materialized.

The filing reads the following (try saying that ten times fast!):

“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.”

Rather than a non-removable back plate on the iPhone (without the proper tools anyways), the application details a removable back plate that would expose the camera optics.

The application was discovered by AppleInsider, and the blog sheds light on possible uses for such technology. Firstly, the system would have an IR-cut filter on the back plate that would allow photographers to take black and white photos in areas of low lighting. The lens would also allow for close-up macro photos.

There is a huge market for photography accessories that can be used in conjunction with the iPhone, so naturally it would be ideal for Apple to want to accommodate such photo buffs. However, I’d personally take anything like this with a grain of salt. It’s unpractical and most if not all of Apple’s patents don’t materialize.