Apple files patent application for removable back covers with different camera lens options

Apple files patent application for removable back covers with different camera lens options
Apple has come up with a way for users of the Apple iPhone to be able to switch camera lens and add certain functionality to the rear shooter. The Cupertino based company has filed a patent application titled, "Back Panel for a Portable Electronic Device with Different Camera Lens Options". Such options could include a back cover with a camera lens sporting an IR-filter that allows the user to take black and white pictures in low light. Another back cover could include a close-up lens that would allow the Apple iPhone to be used in extreme close-up photography.

Diagram from Apple's patent application

Diagram from Apple's patent application

The removable back cover could also have a way to enhance the phone's battery with a small power source built into it. Even some control chips could be added. This could take the premise of swapping out the back cover to a new level including one cover that would offer a camera lens having an optical zoom feature controlled by gestures made on the touch screen. Or, how about a cover that replaces the shutter on the camera with a mechanical one? This would give Apple iPhone users better control of the exposure speed when photographing quickly moving objects. Another strong idea is one that would allow a removable back cover of the Apple iPhone to feature a stroboscopic flash, using a secondary battery built into the cover as a power supply. The optical element on the back cover could even be an optical image stabilizer that uses the phone's accelerometer to know what directions the camera is moving while filming a video or a snapshot, and cancel out movement effects on your pictures and videos.

A whole line of removable covers sounds like a possible money making opportunity for Cupertino if they can get around the issues of design, engineering and manufacturing such an accessory. It offers more choices than simply upgrading the camera would, and would allow for a bit of customization on a phone not really known for it.

source: UnwiredView

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37 Comments

1. mercorp

Posts: 1045; Member since: Jan 28, 2012

Innovation! and great news for soldiers!

37. MEeee

Posts: 397; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

2. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Just once these patents don't get to vague and having a removable back cover becomes an offense you could be sued for!

3. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

Apple again, why don't they create a prototype before filling a friggin patent? It's so annoying to know that such great ideas are wasted on Apple and no one else is going to make them.

17. joaolx

Posts: 364; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Every company does that.

22. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

No, Google filled a patent for the notification pull-down after it was on Android. Google also filled a patent for Google Glasses after the prototype was revealed to the world Samsung, in another recent article, patent a new S Pen, which already exist (acting as a prototype). Apple, on the other hand so far from what I can remember, patented an advanced way of Face Unlock, an optical stylus, non-rectangular battery, some weird magnet lock thing and now this. All of which are great ideas, but will never see light of day, because if Apple can't make them (and we all know they can't), no one can. The only thing which Apple patented that exist is Slide to Unlock, which even then is a stupid @$$ patent. It's like Honda or Ford patenting the steering wheel, or the idea of car keys.

24. wsucoug13

Posts: 164; Member since: May 04, 2012

frydaexiii got em'

31. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

apple rarely shows prototypes of anything... no drawings or anything.. we dont know until it is announced... why would they show us their future technology when their company is based on hype and secrecy? and the whole patent system needs a revision.. why fault apple for using it

34. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

Umm Google files patents for things that aren't out all the time. Every company does that. As usual you get mad at Apple for doing the same as ALL other companies.

33. MISTER-H

Posts: 87; Member since: May 28, 2012

Apple get a life.skms.

4. tedkord

Posts: 17131; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Since they can rationalize that a tap is a zero length swipe, I can definitely see Apple suing over a removeable back cover if it has a lens in it.

18. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1219; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

NO... They are soooo brilliant, that they will sue everyone even if the back-cover comes without a lens saying that cover as "back-cover with zero lens"... To avoid such iTrolls, these types of patents should never be granted

5. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

Another useless patent. Apple going have to stop putting useless patent then later on they will sue someone for it.

6. tkvdog

Posts: 46; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

Innovation! and great news for soldiers yea like the hitler youth.

7. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

This should not be granted (removable back) since phones comes with a removable back before/since window mobile (in order to reset the phone from freezing up), and since we/you can switch camera lens now, Patent should be deny!

10. thedarkside

Posts: 654; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

the motorola razr doesnt have a removable back cover.

29. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

What about the other thousand of phones made before/during and after 2007?, removable yes?

8. CharlieAtInfinity

Posts: 253; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

So Apple think their phone is a DSLR with replaceable lenses??? what nonsense.. and those cover's with lens are going to be very expensive as it has always been with Apple's accessories!! and this is a stupid patent too.. come on now Apple gonna sue just because any other mobile phone manufacturer has removable back panel??

20. theoak

Posts: 324; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

I think it is kind of a cool idea though. Have three lenses ... one that does a wide angle for those close group shots ... one with a little telephoto to bring those far away shots up a little closer (versus using the digital zoom) ... and maybe a macro one for super close stuff. It is a DSLR ... no.

26. CharlieAtInfinity

Posts: 253; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

replaceable lenses is a definitely a good idea but PATENTING such things isn't a good idea!!

9. jacko1977

Posts: 428; Member since: Feb 11, 2012

they only do a patent that they wont even use so they can sue others and get them banned thats all it is

11. zhypher_23

Posts: 195; Member since: Jun 04, 2012

I think filing a patent is considered innovation for Apple....

12. teerex42

Posts: 221; Member since: Jun 14, 2012

I'm no Apple fan because my Android is the BOMB!!!!!! I must say this is a fabulous idea. I've always thought about coming up with an idea of putting different back covers for your phone that you can change the zoom or color options, with all of the 8 meg and soon to be higher pixle cameras coming out. I'm no Apple fan again but I'd say that is innovation. Good luck to ya Apple cause you're going to need something like that to compete with the Galaxy S3..GO ANDROID!!!!!!

14. Mitchel

Posts: 228; Member since: May 25, 2012

I don't get it.. iPhone is well known for its unibody build design..

13. rickfred

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 14, 2012

i we like to know if this iterm is still for sale

15. Penny

Posts: 1844; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

Aren't there already third party lens attachments you can buy and install on the iPhone? If so, should this patent be granted?

21. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

Their very expensive. Also over rated accessories just like the iphone.

16. angelesmec unregistered

I wonder how Apple people's thought process works.

19. BREvenson

Posts: 240; Member since: May 17, 2012

I agree on it being a waste. The iPhone 4S just now caught up to other phones with the camera, as they were using a 5MP before (and 3MP on the 3GS), while several phones like the Thunderbolt, Droid 3, EVO 4G and the Droid Incredible had been doing 8MP well before the 4S hit shelves. Now they are trying to get ahead of them by employing different camera lenses that you can swap out? An interesting idea, yes, but for those who want to pre-filter their pictures before taking them, I can only imagine it will be expensive. Camera lenses aren't cheap...and this is Apple we're talking about, so...ah, forget it. It won't stop them from throwing out (or throwing away) even more money to say they have the newest stuff from Apple.

23. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

"Guys lets take a group picture! Let me switch the back cover first though. I was told it only takes five minutes."

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