Patent filings don't always point us towards features or products that we're likely to see become reality for consumers, but they often are quite telling when it comes to what a company is thinking and how it is considering moving forward with certain products. By far, the most patent filings we see are from Apple, and today brings Apple two new patents for interchangeable mobile camera lenses.
Interchangeable mobile camera lenses are nothing new, so we're really hoping that the USPTO has done its due diligence in checking through other patent filings before approving these. The first patent was filed in 2010, and it is very unlikely that it will ever be seen in an iOS device because it would require a removable panel on the back plate, which is something that Apple probably will never be offering. It does sound interesting though allowing for interchangeable macro lenses and more.
The second patent is one that is much more likely to see release as an official accessory from Apple, or at least as part of an official accessory like a case. The patent describes a camera add-on that would connect with both a physical locking mechanism similar to a DSLR lens as well as a magnetic component to ensure proper attachment. Even if Apple doesn't release an official lens under this patent, it could also be used as a way to get licensing fees from accessory makers who pay want to hook into Apple's proprietary camera housing.