The camera bump on future iPhones could include an “interlock arrangement” for mounting additional third-party lenses, according to a patent awarded to Apple.
The idea sounds potentially compromising to the svelte design we’ve come to expect from our iPhones. “The best camera is the one in your pocket” just might need a bag.
Ideas and inventions often stay filed at the United States Patent and Trade Office never to see the light of day. Apple filed for the patient in 2017 but just won it on Jan. 14.
Smartphone companies over the last few years have added additional cameras to bring an ultra-wide view as well as a short telephoto. Other challenges having to do with the form factor of these hand-held computers, such as zoom and shooting in low light, are addressed with software and algorithms.
There are great photographers with iPhones, some working within the handset’s limits, others expanding what the native camera sees with third-party lenses. There are even complicated riggings for smartphones to provide a mount for DSLR lenses.
Apple lens mount patent explores several ideas
Patent summaries can be vague and offer several “embodiments.” Apple’s idea could involve a mount that attaches with an adhesive. The mount would feature grooves to correspond with the mounting ring on the back of the lens.
Another version could have a separate camera module that would include sensors and autofocus coils, according to patent details.
“In some embodiments, a camera module may include one or more elements that define an optical axis, a lens barrel that holds the one or more lens elements (and) a lens carrier and interlock arrangement to attach the lens barrel to the lens carrier,” the patent says. “Furthermore, the camera module may include a lens actuator to move the lens carrier relative to the image sensor.”
The patent also makes reference to voice-activated motors and processors. A processor would bring an image up on the display of either an iPhone or iPad.