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Not only does Apple continue to enhance and perfect its mobile camera technology with each iPhone and iOS update, but the burgeoning popularity of iPhone photography has, over the years, given rise to a trove of third-party accessories designed to enhance Cupertino’s already second-to-none camera tech.
While Apple doesn’t currently offer any self-branded iPhone camera accessories of its own, the company is certainly no stranger to how popular they’ve become with mobile photographers.
A new Apple patent application published earlier this week by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office appears to cover what Apple ironically describes as a next-generation small format factor (SFF) camera lens attachment — an after-market accessory compatible with Apple devices like iPhone, iPad, and even MacBook.
Apple’s patent application, as described by Patently Apple, quite simply talks about an accessory lens which may be “attached, mounted or held relative to the camera lens of a device such that the accessory lens directs light passing through the accessory lens to the camera lens.”
Apple’s invention, additionally, may be capable of producing “improved image quality” for iPhone cameras when using accessory lenses, given that these lenses can be used to “shrink or expand the focal length of the camera lens, or to enable closer-focusing macro capabilities.”
See (FIG. 1A), above, which illustrates Apple’s invention in its CAD-rendered form — and (FIG. 8), directly below it, which outlines the process of how Apple’s advanced SFF system works, functionally.
Sadly, the likelihood that Apple is actually working on an after market camera lens attachment like this is slim to none — though it’s definitely worth pointing out that the company is currently working on several augmented and virtual reality projects, some of which could potentially incorporate an ‘advanced camera accessory’ similar to what Apple is describing here.
Keep in mind, of course, that given this is merely a patent application, we have no real way of knowing if a product like it will ever come to market.
Apple, for better or worse, has a known penchant for patenting more than it produces. While the thought of an Apple-branded camera accessory is bound to excite iPhone fans and mobile photographers, it’s worth pointing out that the third-party mobile camera accessory market is already brimming with a number of high quality iPhone and iPad camera lens attachments.
Like this powerful, 8x Telephoto Smartphone Lens Attachment, enabling you to capture crisp images boasting up to 8x the zoom. Its simple and easy-to-use design clips onto your smartphone in just seconds, and the unit’s clever ‘twist-to-zoom’ architecture gives you quick and precise control of your zoom level. Get it here for just $12.99 (74% OFF)
Those who’d prefer more options than stationary zoom will find great value in this fantastic five pack of Clip & Snap smartphone camera lens attachments. Not only are these high-quality glass lenses designed to enhance your photo’s crispness and clarity, but a variety of lenses, including a 180-degree Fish Eye, Telephoto, Wide Macro and more, ensure you’ll be equipped to capture the perfect shot no matter where the journey takes you. Get it here for just $17.99 (74% OFF)
If you’re trying to get extra “up-close-and-personal” with the object in your iPhone’s viewfinder, then you’ll fall in love with the Blips Macro smartphone lens kit. Powered by a dedicated iOS app, this unique lens kit includes two (Macro and Super Macro’ lenses, designed to easily attach to and detach from your iPhone. According to The Verge, this Blips lens kit is by far ‘The best way to put a microscope in your pocket.’ Get it here for just $24.99 (24% OFF)
Professional and novice iPhone photographers will delight in the affordable (yet capable) LimeLens Universal Smartphone Camera lens set. Consisting of a powerful 10x Macro Perspective lens; a 0.67x wide-angle dual-purpose lens; a 190° Supreme Fisheye lens, and three Limeclip attachments — this set truly contains all you’ll need to capture fantastic photos on the fly. Get it here for just $39.99 (59% OFF)