Huh? Your next MacBook could have a removable rear camera

The best MacBook models you can buy today are excellent laptops, but are also fairly conventional when it comes to their hardware features. But Apple may be looking at something surprising for future MacBook camera loadouts, based on a finding by PatentlyApple (opens in new tab)

That’s a German patent titled “Kameraintegration Für Tragbare Elektronische Vorrichtungen (opens in new tab)” (Camera integration for portable electronic devices), filed by four Apple employees in April of this year, and published in the past week. What it shows is a laptop not only with the expected webcam at the top of the display, but a second camera located in the same position on the back of the laptop’s lid.

(Image credit: DPMA)

In one version of the patent’s claims, this camera is fixed in place. But the fancier second version of this patent also shows magnetically-attached camera modules that can be swapped in and out. The modules shown include a standard single-lens camera as well as a four-sensor module.

Two patent illustrations showing a laptop with a rear camera module

(Image credit: DPMA)

The patent covers modules with any number or type of sensors in addition to regular cameras, including the LiDAR depth sensors Apple already uses on the iPhone 14 Pro, iPad Pro and older models in those device families. Infrared, light detection and facial recognition sensors are among the others mentioned.


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