Apple files for patent for a 'small form factor telephoto lens' for iOS devices

Apple has filed for a patent (number 20150116560) for a "small form factor telephoto camera," which hints at even better camera functions in future iPhones and iPads.

The popularity of mobile devices has resulted in a need for high-resolution, small form factor cameras for integration in the devices. However, Apple says that, due to limitations of conventional camera technology, conventional small cameras used in such devices tend to capture images at lower resolutions and/or with lower image quality than can be achieved with larger, higher quality cameras. 

Achieving higher resolution with small package size cameras generally requires use of a photosensor with small pixel size and a good, compact imaging lens system. Advances in technology have achieved reduction of the pixel size in photosensors. However, as photosensors become more compact and powerful, demand for compact imaging lens system with improved imaging quality performance has increased. Apple thinks it can tackle this issue.

The company's proposed lens system may include five lens elements with refractive power. Alternatively, it may include four lens elements with refractive power. At least one of the object side and image side surfaces of at least one of the lens elements is aspheric.