Apple may use bayonet mounts for interchangeable iPhone camera lenses

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2014
Apple is investigating the use of bayonet lens mounts -- one of the most common lens attachment mechanisms used in modern photography -- in its iOS device lineup, suggesting the company is mulling interchangeable lens accessories for its iOS device lineup.

iPhone


An Apple patent issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday describes a mechanism by which an iOS device, such as an iPhone or iPod, may be fitted with a bayonet mount onto which various lens types can be fastened.

As noted in Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,687,299 for "Bayonet attachment mechanisms," the bayonet mount is both utile and aesthetically pleasing, two attributes paramount in any Apple product design. The mount correctly aligns and securely attaches lenses to a device body while keeping a relatively inconspicuous profile when not in use.

Bayonet
Source: USPTO


Apple notes that other mount types, such as cases with built-in screw mounts, alter the overall design of a device and are therefore undesirable from a consumer's perspective. Magnetic mounts can be disguised, but the method is not as secure as a physical interlock and may result in misaligned lenses.

Instead, Apple proposes a bayonet-style solution integrated with a device's rear-facing camera bezel. As seen above, the iPhone-side bayonets are substantially hidden within the camera surround, which would protrude slightly above the rear case. A lens element with interleaving bayonets can be aligned via a guide dot and rotated until a secure interference hold is achieved.

Bayonet


Detents and inserts are disposed within the bayonet mechanism to provide an increasingly tight torque lock when rotating in a certain direction. Detents on the first attachment mechanism (located on the device) force a second attachment mechanism (located on the lens) outward radially against a compliance member. As the second attachment plates are pushed outward, gaps form between the bayonets until the detents reach a secure configuration, at which point the plates move inward into a locked position.

Once the detents on both mechanisms are engaged, stop members halt further rotation, denoting a secure fit and preventing mechanical damage.

Due to a bayonet mount's snug fit, it might pose a risk to both device and lens if dropped from height. To prevent breakage from the transfer of force associated with a drop, the bayonet mechanism may incorporate a ramped surface that enables a lens to decouple from a device without rotating. The torque at which this decoupling occurs can be modified depending on the ramp angle and materials used.

Bayonet
Illustration showing decoupling of lens from device when dropped.


Apple has filed similar patents in the past, including recent properties for interchangeable lenses, though Tuesday's invention is perhaps closest to something the company would potentially release. While mere conjecture, it is theoretically possible that a bayonet style mount could be added to the handset without significant cost to aesthetics.

A report in March suggested the upcoming iPhone 6 design featured a protruding rear camera much like the fifth-generation iPod nano, while a dubious rumor suggested Apple is working on an interchangeable lens system for its mobile device lineup. All current iPhone models sport a camera flush with the back case.

Apple's bayonet mount patent was first filed for in 2012 and credits Emery A. Sanford and Dominic C. Toselli as its inventors.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,494member
    And full manual in the iOS camera app please.
  • Reply 2 of 23
    y2any2an Posts: 68member
    Wait, what was that earlier picture today in AI I an iPhone with a raised camera lens...? Was that a prototype?
  • Reply 3 of 23
    acatomicacatomic Posts: 60member
    So a iPod touch with a 5.5 inch screen which is great for gaming and a camera with interchangeable lenses.

    It's great that they haven't given up on iPod touch :)
  • Reply 4 of 23
    Hmm this would be nice if there was a magnetic ring in the lens that lifts the bayonet up to attach the lens, but is otherwise flush with the phone. If it's protruding in any way it will be annoying and very non-Apple like. As if attaching lenses is something we would do. Where do you keep them? It would be way too easy to bend the bayonet. Lets hope this never happens..
  • Reply 5 of 23
    So I also noticed that the lens they show in the drawings would actually totally cover the flash. In that rumored photo with the protruding lens people were saying there was no built-in flash shown.

    Way to solve both problems: The flash is in the white apple logo in the middle.
  • Reply 6 of 23
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    Breakable. Can you return policy thousands of times as a service rep? How does it feel.
  • Reply 7 of 23
    jenedujenedu Posts: 1member

    Got to be an April Fool....don't you think?

    I love the idea though....hope its not a joke

  • Reply 8 of 23
    thepixeldocthepixeldoc Posts: 2,257member
    To the above naysayers, please explain WHY this couldn't be an option for those that want it?

    I hope everyone can see that the near future of tech advances (AND profits for Apple) is with their mobile devices and building out the hardware SKUs, OS, software and accessories. The desktop is stagnant. Ask Microsoft.

    BTW: Canon, Sony and Nikon are starting to "get it" as well, and are pulling back on further development of point and shoots... since there is no...um...point to them going forward. They serve no purpose, even if they still produce better photos than most phones. They're just not being purchased when a phone is always with you, whereas you have to consciously "remember" to bring a PaS with you. That said, a removable lense is also going to be an afterthought for many people, but not nearly as large to consider than even the smallest PaS if you're serious about getting a better quality shot with an iPhone... for those that care.
  • Reply 9 of 23
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,499member
    April Fool! Gotcha!
  • Reply 10 of 23
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,449member
    April Fool! Gotcha!

    LOL

    And here I was hoping they'd use the Canon mount so I could use my L lenses in my iPhone. ;)
  • Reply 11 of 23
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    So I also noticed that the lens they show in the drawings would actually totally cover the flash. In that rumored photo with the protruding lens people were saying there was no built-in flash shown.

    Way to solve both problems: The flash is in the white apple logo in the middle.

    You have very poor reading comprehension.
  • Reply 12 of 23
    Normally I'd think this would be difficult to make where it's both durable and compact.

    Then I remembered liquid metal. An ideal use would be for a bayonet mount. It could be very small and yet still have good strength.

    And why does the bayonet have to protrude? Why not have it flush where there's a "notch" in the phone body that the lens attaches to?
  • Reply 13 of 23

    If this is an April Fool's joke, somebody spent a lot of time creating those drawings. If not then that prototype iPhone 6 photo is looking like it's real.

  • Reply 14 of 23
    bcodebcode Posts: 139member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

     


    And why does the bayonet have to protrude? Why not have it flush where there's a "notch" in the phone body that the lens attaches to?

     

    Exactly.  They patent docs show it protruding so that Scamscum doesn't rip the idea before it gets to market.  The actual implementation will have the bayonet inset in the phone, to keep the smooth back face.

  • Reply 15 of 23
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

    And why does the bayonet have to protrude?

     

    How are you expected to spear Samsung users in the heart if it doesn’t?

  • Reply 16 of 23
    jakebjakeb Posts: 557member
    The "Your Verse" commercial with the videomaker makes more sense now. Planting the seed that these things can be real cameras.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    To the above naysayers, please explain WHY this couldn't be an option for those that want it?

    I hope everyone can see that the near future of tech advances (AND profits for Apple) is with their mobile devices and building out the hardware SKUs, OS, software and accessories. The desktop is stagnant. Ask Microsoft.

    BTW: Canon, Sony and Nikon are starting to "get it" as well, and are pulling back on further development of point and shoots... since there is no...um...point to them going forward. They serve no purpose, even if they still produce better photos than most phones. They're just not being purchased when a phone is always with you, whereas you have to consciously "remember" to bring a PaS with you. That said, a removable lense is also going to be an afterthought for many people, but not nearly as large to consider than even the smallest PaS if you're serious about getting a better quality shot with an iPhone... for those that care.

    Not really.

    A point-and-shoot camera still has a better lens mechanism (sometimes offering optical zoom) that a iPhone/iPod/iPad device will always lack. Most cameraphones are good-enough for what most people would have had a 110 style camera for (and the same tradeoffs of much lower resolution than expensive (D)SLR's.) A lot of what you see in current PaS cameras is hand-me-downs from DSLR versions.

    Regardless if this patent is not an april fools day joke or is. A camera phone lacks appropriate lighting, so you could have a 30 megapixel camera, and still get utter crap for photos because the sensor requires much more light to get a quality photo. So if this patent were true, I'd expect a lightning attachment that also adds a high power flash as well.
  • Reply 18 of 23
    I think the real trick is getting the lenses to work together.

    When there's no lens attached you use the one in the phone for everyday shots. When you attach a lens it's going through two sets of lenses. I know this has been done, but it's not ideal. The absolute best scenario is no lens in the phone and an external lens that images directly on the sensor.

    This isn't practical on a phone, so there's always some compromise between the lenses in he camera and how they work alone vs how they work with attached lenses.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,104member
    The iPro lens setup uses a bayonet mount to their case. Will Apple's patent cause problems with iPro or the other way around?
  • Reply 20 of 23
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    ... the bayonet mount is both utile and aesthetically pleasing ...

     

    Utility yes.  Aesthetics no.  I love the F-mount bayonet system on my Nikon D70 (and N90 and F2S) but boy is it ugly when there's no lens attached.  And, by the way, Nikon first used the system in 1959 and they seem to have been able to prevent other camera manufacturers from copying the system.  Presumably Nikon was granted patents for it.  (Just look at the various bizarre lens-mount systems that Canon has been forced to use over the years.)

     

    If I were Jony Ive, I'd do a magnetic system with small dimples in the back of the iPhone (and iPad) for alignment.  It would look cleaner, it would be nearly fumble-free, and it would provide energy absorption and separation on drops.

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