The US Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday granted Apple a patent that describes a mounting system for the iPhone that would allow users to attach different lenses over the phone's camera. The system would use a bayonet attachment mechanism by which the user attaches the lens by twisting it into the receptacle until it locks - similar to methods already in place on traditional interchangeable lens cameras.
The Cupertino-based company notes in the filing that bayonet mounts are much more secure than other methods of attachment like magnets, clips or adhesives. This means that the lens would always sit in the correct position and you wouldn't have to worry about losing it.
Despite the benefits of such a system, I'd personally be surprised if we ever saw this show up on an Apple product. For one, it would add a bit of girth to whatever platform it was installed on and second, I'm not sure how popular aftermarket lenses are in the first place.
Then again, the cameras inside smartphones are improving with each generation and it could serve as yet another income stream for Apple's accessory business. What's more, they could even license its use out to third-party manufacturers for added revenue.
Either way, it's important to remember that this is just a patent filing right now. There's no way to know for sure if or when Apple will ever implement such a system or if they're simply doing it to prevent other companies from using such a mount on their devices.