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Old Mar 13, 2014, 12:37 PM   #1
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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."

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.
Quote:
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.

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.

Article Link: Apple Explores Adding a Lens Mounting System to the iPhone
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 12:38 PM   #2
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A macro lens would be epic.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 12:38 PM   #3
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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!)

Last edited by DFZD; Mar 13, 2014 at 12:46 PM.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 12:38 PM   #4
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I'd buy it.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 12:44 PM   #5
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If this is true, bayonet mounts are the way to go. Stoked.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 12:44 PM   #6
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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


Last edited by AngerDanger; Mar 13, 2014 at 01:28 PM. Reason: the more you know
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 12:47 PM   #7
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I would buy that !
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 12:52 PM   #8
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I'd say it's likely they'll release this capability in some form in the future. Imagine if 3rd parties could produce high quality lenses that fit to Apple's specific mount format.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 12:52 PM   #9
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only if they're L series...
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 12:54 PM   #10
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I would buy that !
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Originally Posted by Sky Blue View Post
I'd buy it.
Thank you! I was wondering...
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 12:54 PM   #11
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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.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 12:59 PM   #12
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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.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 01:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by cppguy View Post
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!

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Originally Posted by baryon View Post
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
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 01:06 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by baryon View Post
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.
And if there are going to be electrical connections of some kind just make the mounting area a "D" shape or something so it only goes on one way -- or better yet oval shaped so it could go on either way. I guess it could be square with the magnets only on two opposing sides. Then it would only stick two of the four possible directions. Yeah. Magnetic. Bring it on.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 01:08 PM   #15
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If we can have a iPhone SLR mount system, that will be fantastic.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 01:08 PM   #16
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In other news, Canon and Nikon **** themselves with fear.

Last edited by OllyW; Mar 13, 2014 at 01:25 PM. Reason: circumventing the profanity filter
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 01:23 PM   #17
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In other news, Canon and Nikon **** themselves with fear.
Yeah I don't see the DSLR market caring too much about phone cameras.

Last edited by OllyW; Mar 13, 2014 at 01:25 PM. Reason: clean up to quoted post
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 01:24 PM   #18
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only if they're L series...
Agreed.

I'd personally like this if it became a standard for iPhones going in the future. That means one lens can last me generations of iPhones to come rather than buying a new clip every year or two.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 01:27 PM   #19
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I couldn't imagine Apple doing this any other way besides a magnet. It by far would be the cleanest approach to doing this.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 01:29 PM   #20
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I like the idea, but I'm not sure why they woudn't just use magnets. This would allow the phone to have no protuberances when no lense is attached. And, as Apple has shown, they have an affinity for magnets (eg. magsafe, and ipad smart cover).
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 01:30 PM   #21
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I couldn't imagine Apple doing this any other way besides a magnet. It by far would be the cleanest approach to doing this.
Exactly. That way it still looks clean for people who choose not to use these extra lenses.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 01:32 PM   #22
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If we can have a iPhone SLR mount system, that will be fantastic.
SLR doesn't make sense of course (you want a viewfinder with a moving mirror?)

But to me it would be a great success if:

• The default lens doesn't stick out of the phone
• The mechanism to attach a lens isn't a big hole in the phone

It would also be nice if they make it so the default lens is removable and can be replaced by other lenses.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 01:32 PM   #23
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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

Image
ha ha ha ha....that was epic!
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 01:33 PM   #24
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Exactly. That way it still looks clean for people who choose not to use these extra lenses.
The only way this could possibly not be the case is if they were developing this for a TRUE camera and not an iPhone. But I would think that's unlikely. Who knows, anything can happen!
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 01:42 PM   #25
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A macro lens would be epic.
If you take a jewelers eye loop , and put the iphone lens on it you get really sharp and good looking macro pictures.

Takes a bit to figure it out, but I do it all the time to show close ups.

Not an every day solution, but works:-)
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