Another Apple Patent That Won’t Make Its Way To Our World
June 15, 2012

Another Apple Patent That Won’t Make Its Way To Our World

Michael Harper for

For those Apple fans who like to read way too deeply into analyst notes, press invitations and Steve Jobs´ biography, have I got some fun for you!

I know your kind: You´re not new to scouring the US Patent and Trademark filings for all sorts of hints about what Apple could do next.

Not “will” do, mind you, or even “might” do. No, you´re a hopeful lot. A sect of dreamers and pie-in-the-sky idealists. For you, nothing short of a levitating iPhone for will do. You´ve long since moved on from the idea of an Apple branded Television. That´s child´s play.

Well, have you heard the one about Apple´s push into photography, complete with patents for swappable camera lenses? Just released by AppleInsider, the patent is formally known as “Back Panel for a Portable Electronic Device with Different Camera Lens Options,” and includes some drawings and sketches of a device which could be an iPhone (or maybe a camera“¦I know what you´re thinking) with a removable panel of all things, capable of allowing users to swap out different lenses.

According to Apple Insider, the filing also notes that users want more out of their digital devices as technology becomes more sophisticated. To that end, this patent could help bring DSLR-type quality to a small, slim package. Apple´s filing also aims to bring features like optical zoom and image stabilization (already featured in the 4S, by the by) to small compact cameras or smartphones.

“It would be desirable to provide a structure for a compact device that allows the end user to reconfigure the optical arrangement of the device while retaining the benefits of assembling the device using a pre-assembled digital imaging subsystem,” says the filing.

Apple´s solution is a portable device with a series of lenses which exist on an axis. To access these lenses and optics, simply remove the back panel and...

And that´s as far as anyone should get in this filing before realizing Apple will never release such a product.

Sure, Apple likes to patent things. They patent things all the time, like a screen which touches you back, or an iPod that can check your pulse and charge itself via solar power. They´ve even patented styluses, for crying out loud!

Patents are more about running a good business than actual plans for future products. Apple can file patents for good and bad ideas alike. When they release a good product (as they´re wont to do) they have the patent for it. If some bonehead somewhere decides to create a product that touches you back, guess who has the patent for it? That´s right, Apple. Should this bonehead believe so deeply in his product that he decides to shell out some bucks, Apple gets paid and the bonehead gets his product. It´s a win-win.

While interesting to speculate on, these Apple patents rarely contain any real news or scoops. I´d say 9 times out of 10, these patents are nothing more than proof that Apple continues to think of new products, bad and good alike. No matter where these products fall on that spectrum, Apple patents them. Their pride doesn´t get in the way, because having a patent for a ridiculous product is nowhere near as embarrassing as actually throwing money and resources at a bad product.

But I´m just one guy with my opinions. If you like to clutch your Jobs biography and cite the lines about his wanting to revolutionize the photography industry and pour over patent filings such as these, I say go for it. If it makes you happy, I´m not going to step in your way. I just want you to know, somewhere in the dark crevices of your mind, that you´re probably wrong.