Apple considers a camera lens which protrudes from the iPhone 6 while future iPhones may have interchangeable lenses on a bayonet fixing
A leaked photo suggests that Apple will have a protruding camera lens in its forthcoming iPhone 6, while the company has been granted a patent for bayonet attachment to allow interchangeable camera lenses.
Apple is believed to be introducing two iPhone 6 smartphones in the Autumn, one with a 4.7-inch display and another with a 5.5-inch display. The phone’s camera was highlighted in images which GforGames claims were sneaked out of Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn, which show an iPhone model with a protruding camera lens.
The bayonet-fixing design would also protrude, but is more likely to be a long-term project aimed at future phones.
Too thin for a camera?
It is believed that Apple is considering whether to make a super-thin 7mm iPhone (compared with the 7.66mm of the iPhone 5S), with the camera lens protruding slightly from the back, or to make the phone less thin and incorporate the lens.
The site has photos and a sketch of a grey iPhone, which apparently show Apple is opting for the former, or at least trying it out.
One of the blurry sketches shows what’s presumably a side and bottom of one of the phones, but neither resembles those on the iPhone 5S. While the latter has 26 little speaker holes, the sketch shows what seems to be an iPhone 6 with just six much larger holes in a single row and a device body that’s little-wider than the earphone jack.
Tuesday also saw the publication of US patent 8687299, entitled “Bayonet attachment mechanisms”, a detailed description of how to attach add-on lenses to an iPhone using a bayonet fixing built into the phone itself.
Patent for bayonet fixing
Lenses would fix onto a ring raised above the back of the phone, and be controlled from the phone’s camera app. Apple apparently rejected the idea of magnetic couplings as not robust enough, and other fixings were considered less aesthetic.
The scheme is spring-loaded and has some flexibility, so the lens could bend and detach itself rather than break off if the phone is dropped while it is attached.
Displays on the way
Reuters also added to the Apple rumors 1 April, reporting that Apple suppliers will begin mass producing the two new larger displays as soon as May for a launch this fall.
It added that Japan Display, Sharp and LG Display have all been selected to make the screens, according to sources. Japan Display will be the first to begin production, with the others following around June.
The Nikkei news agency in Japan has likewise reported that Japan Display’s Mobara plant will begin production of the Apple liquid crystal displays (LCDs) in the April-to-June quarter.
iPhones with larger displays could help Apple regain some of the market share it has lost to rival Samsung – the company whose generous displays have fed a global appetite for screen real estate, grown Samsung’s global market share and popularised the “phablet.”
In the second quarter of 2013, phablets – phones nudging into tablet territory, with displays between 5 and 7 inches – overtook sales of tablets and portable PCs, according to IDC.
The research firm has said it expects that phablets are “more than just a short blip of a fad,” but that new categories, such as smartwatches, will arrive and it “expects continued diversity among smart connected devices.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been silent on whether Apple fans can expect a new product category.
However, during Apple’s earnings call 27 January, Cook told analysts, “We’re working on things that are things that you see that we’re shipping today, and we’re working on things that you can’t see today.”
Peter Judge contributed to this report
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Originally published on eWeek.