New Apple patents could mean better lenses with smaller camera bumps

New Apple patents could mean better lenses with smaller camera bumps
Smartphone cameras have improved tremendously over the years, offering image quality and dynamic range to rival some dedicated cameras. However, innovations for smartphone camera lenses are rarely seen, and for a good reason- a thin smartphone simply doesn't have the space for a larger or more elaborate lens setup. But with recent Apple patents, this might soon change. 


Apple has recently filed patents for a "folded lens system" (via AppleInsider). The patents describe a complex system of lens elements and prisms to redirect light into the sensor, which would sit below. The patent also mentions a full-frame equivalent focal length of 80-200mm. Why is this important? 

Camera lenses with longer focal lengths can better capture details from far-away objects. But in order to achieve a longer focal length, the lens generally needs to grow longer physically as well. This is bad for anyone who doesn't want a huge camera bump on their smartphone. But if the technology in Apple's new patent can be put to use, future iPhones could offer powerful telephoto lenses, without the camera bump. 

Of course, this is all speculation for now, as the patent doesn't guarantee that a new feature will arrive on the next iPhone. But if it does, this could easily be one of the coolest innovations in smartphone photography.   



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13 Comments

1. Diva_hipsterova

Posts: 23; Member since: Aug 21, 2018

How is this different from the periscope lens?

5. afrohoxha

Posts: 258; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

It's almost the same...and it's not even mentioned in the article like bazillions of times something Apple did before is introduced on Android

2. maherk

Posts: 6942; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

This is for Apple and the rest of the market, just make our smartphones thicker. 9mm thicknesses should eliminate the camera bump while giving us bigger batteries, and a room for the headphone jack.

12. Cat97

Posts: 1923; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

The headphone jack was not removed from a lack of room, but to sell the AirPods for profit. The rest of companies removing it just copied Apple.

3. LawnBoy

Posts: 198; Member since: Feb 23, 2019

Here is a novel idea all manufacturers should adopt: build the phone to the thickness of the camera bump. Provides more internal space for battery, headphone jacks and makes the camera flush.....hmmm

4. Eric7779

Posts: 19; Member since: Feb 13, 2019

We're not gonna see that soon. Apple's getting innovative patents every year but they always wait to be challenged by Android's innovations. Tim Cook's Apple is just a financial and marketing firm. They always try to offer the least they could without losing their fans. They just live on the dream they created from their fans by the iPhone's first days innovation.

6. gadgetpower

Posts: 283; Member since: Aug 23, 2019

I’m not even bother by camera bump on my 11 Pro Max. I love bow apple embrace camera bumps and rings. But of course better lens are always welcome.

7. Alcyone

Posts: 480; Member since: May 10, 2018

I'm sure your pro is in a case. Lame, for those that don't choose to use one. They'll deal with the lame wobble that happens due to the unnecessary camera protrusions. Rings, bumps, or whatever you wanna call them easily could've been avoided. But, Apple needs that differential factor.

8. apple-rulz

Posts: 2190; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

I’ve told you this before, you can definitely make some extra $$$ by charging Apple rent for the space they are occupying in your mind.

9. shield

Posts: 852; Member since: Sep 12, 2015

ONLY LG with non camera bumps.

10. J2017

Posts: 75; Member since: Oct 25, 2017

Lg already makes phones without a camera bump but I can't wait for Apple to invent this!!!

11. koioz

Posts: 157; Member since: Nov 29, 2018

How to avoid camera bump: Make the phone thicker. Benifits: Bigger battery, and a headphone jack

14. blastertoad

Posts: 46; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Camera bumps aren't going anywhere, especially on Apple devices. It is not a technical limitation, it is informed design. They want your phone in your hand, make it feel uncomfortable to use idly sitting on a table. Also Apple designs and sells cases and wants you to purchase those as well.

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