Apple invents device with removable back panel optical options

“On June 14, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of their research projects involving a camera device that provides the user with configurable optic options,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“The unique aspect to this is the device’s removable back panel,” Purcher reports. “Although Apple’s patent background mentions a mobile phone, their actual summary and patent detailing mention nothing of a phone in any traditional way. So the device could either represent a next generation iPod touch as a means of differentiating it from the iPhone or a standalone camera that Apple has been playing with since 2009. While Apple has toyed with the idea of adding various lenses to handhelds via an external accessory in the past, their concepts were never in-line with Apple’s great design ethic.”

Purcher reports, “Today’s design seems to properly address the need for better portable device optical options while retaining an Apple-like form factor. The only real question remaining is this: Is Apple designing this removal back panel design as part of a standalone camera or as part of the iPod touch’s reinvention.”

Much more, including Apple patent application illustrations, in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Arline M.” and “Edward Weber” for the heads up.]


  1. That’s an interesting idea to reinvent the iPod touch. But a new device would be cool too. It all depends on how advanced the features are. I think the iPod touch idea is the way to go though. It would repurpose it.

  2. For sure it\’s not the iPhone. Apple want\’s it to by their flagship product. The patent at one point talks about a bulkier optical option and there\’s no way Apple will allow the iPhone to be bulky, ever!

    The iPhone will always have a \”basic\” camera, if not a very good camera. But it won\’t be focused on that. The iPhone is going to be an iwallet and maybe in a year or two offer a tiny projector. But it\’s never going to be a \”super\” camera. I agree with Tom on this one. A redesigned iPod touch.

    1. The iPhone will never have a tiny projector. Not with AirPlay providing that function, especially if an iTV is produced. There just isn’t enough demand for a tiny projector, plus the drain on battery life (not to mention the space the projector bits would take up) would not be worth the limited use.

      I actually could see this being more like a case from Apple or some third party. You could integrate different optical lenses in a protective shell, with some mechanism to quickly turn a dial to switch between lenses rather than removable lenses.

    1. That’s an idea. They said one was a little bulkier so the projector would be cool. AirPlay doesn’t work in hotels and many, many places so Bizlaw’s view is too narrow. Kids will also like to play movies on a wall and so on. There’s a market for it. Nokia has a 40 MB camera on one model and it’s wild. There’s a lot of camera buffs out there. At the moment, I’m not overly impressed with iOS cameras, especially video. Too jittery.

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