iPhone 5 rumors: next iPhone could feature swappable camera lenses

The US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple today.

According to Engadget, the filing details a method for removing the back cover of an iPhone to reconfigure or replace the lens.

Entitled “Back Panel for a Portable Electronic Device with Different Camera Lens Options,” the application presents images of a device that looks very much like an iPhone with the camera in the top-left-corner location.

“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,” the filing states.

The site writes that the lens would be part of a removable back panel and multiple lenses could be integrated on a single panel.

The patent was filed by Apple in December of 2010.