Apple eyes an interchangeable lens for the iPhone

The company applies for a patent that lets iPhones users switch up the phone's camera lens.

Apple has applied for a patent that would let iPhone users change its camera lens, according to a patent application published today.

The patent would cover for a portable electronic device, such as a mobile phone, and would make the device's back panel removable, allowing users to switch to a different lenses. In design terms, this would mark a significant departure for the iPhone, since Apple has always shipped its signature device completely sealed.

Instead of switching out the lens, iPhone photography aficionados currently use add-ons to get around the limitation.

The patent may have been part of the late Steve Jobs' grand plans for making iPhone cameras even more appealing to photographers. Jobs, who was interested in photography himself, envisioned an improved camera in a meeting with Ren Ng, CEO of the photography company Lytro, last year.

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