Apple patent could magnetically attach lenses to your iPad


posted Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 1:55 PM EDT


If you have an iPad, you're probably aware of the fact that it has a couple of magnets embedded in its body—that's what allows the Apple smart case to click into place so easily and perfectly. But a new patent from Apple shows that the company is working on using those magnets for an awful lot more than just holding a cover in place.

The patent was spotted by AppleInsider, and as part of the huge variety of other ideas that Apple has for it, it could possibly be used to attach a better camera or lens to the iPad. Despite the fact that shooting with an iPad (or any tablet for that matter) generally makes you look extremely goofy, Apple seems keen to keep the concept of the iPad as a photography or video device alive. In a recent advertising campaign, Apple spotlighted a number of people using the iPad for video and still work, also profiling them on the iPad site. Being able to attach an entirely new imaging device on the top of an iPad would do a lot for boosting its photography skills, as as it stands, the image quality out of the iPad is pretty sub-par.

Photography is just a tiny part of this patent, though. It includes a huge manner of ways to tap into the magnets, such as linking together two iPads, touchpads, drawing tablets, antennas, gamepads, and even using it to attach iPads to other devices, like on a dashboard or a treadmill. The patent even goes into magnetic rings that you could use to unlock your iPad.

As usual with Apple patents, we might never see this technology actually come to light—or it might be in a form that's totally removed from what's described here. But it's interesting to see Apple taking something as simple as a magnet, and attempting a huge number of interesting things with it.