Apple Explores Adding a Lens Mounting System to the iPhone

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.
    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
  2. macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2012
  3. DFZD, Mar 13, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2014

    macrumors regular

    Apr 6, 2012
    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!)
  4. Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
  5. macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2013
    Just hoping they can make the iPhone thinner, at the same time they make the camera better!
  6. macrumors 68020


    Oct 25, 2009
    If this is true, bayonet mounts are the way to go. Stoked.
  7. AngerDanger, Mar 13, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2014

    macrumors 68020


    Dec 9, 2008
    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

  8. macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2012
  9. macrumors 6502

    Jun 1, 2004
    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.
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 30, 2010
  11. macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2012
    Thank you! I was wondering... :p
  12. macrumors regular

    Apr 6, 2009
    SF Bay Area, California
    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.
  13. macrumors 68030


    Oct 3, 2009
    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.
  14. macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2011
    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!


    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
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 18, 2007
    New Mexico
    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.
  16. macrumors member


    Nov 20, 2011
    Richmond, VA
    If we can have a iPhone SLR mount system, that will be fantastic. :D
  17. HurtinMinorKey, Mar 13, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2014

    macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2012
    In other news, Canon and Nikon **** themselves with fear.
  18. ScottishDuck, Mar 13, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2014

    macrumors 6502a


    Feb 17, 2010
    Argyll, Scotland
    Yeah I don't see the DSLR market caring too much about phone cameras.
  19. macrumors 68020

    May 20, 2011

    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.
  20. macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2009
    Scranton, PA
    I couldn't imagine Apple doing this any other way besides a magnet. It by far would be the cleanest approach to doing this.
  21. macrumors member


    Feb 1, 2013
    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).
  22. macrumors 6502a


    Feb 8, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Exactly. That way it still looks clean for people who choose not to use these extra lenses.
  23. macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2008
    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.
  24. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 19, 2007
    ha ha ha ha....that was epic!
  25. macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2009
    Scranton, PA
    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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