Patents can always hint at new and interesting ideas that companies are potentially preparing for their next gadgets or future versions of their products. Therefore, enthusiasts are especially excited about such applications. And Apple has just released one.

This was reported by 9to5Mac. 

For example, the company has filed a patent application for a replaceable iPhone back panel that can contain additional devices and protection. It is not a protective case or MagSafe accessory, but a replaceable part of the case with separate components and a spring clip fastening system and electrical connection. However, it is noted that the device’s own cameras will remain in place in the event of such a replacement.

There are many interesting components of such a panel:

“The supplemental housing components may also provide additional functionality, such as supplemental batteries, physiological sensors and/or health-monitoring devices, cameras, auxiliary displays, and the like,” the documentation says.

Even though there is a separate cutout for cameras and they do not change when the panel is changed, the new panel can still contain lenses for them, as well as additional sensors and “related electronics to facilitate image capture.”

Glucose monitoring is also mentioned in the examples of the new interchangeable panels:

As another example, the supplemental subsystem may be a blood sugar testing device, and may include a mechanism to receive blood samples (e.g., on paper test strips), and associated analysis components and circuitry to determine a blood glucose level based on the test strip.

At the same time, such panels can perform protective functions, replacing the traditional solutions with external cases. That is, in one variation, it can be a reinforced cover that also covers the side edges with a slight protrusion above the front side. 

It’s worth remembering that even if a patent is granted, it doesn’t mean that the technologies described in it will end up in the final product. But the concept is still very interesting and can potentially expand the iPhone accessories market (which is already quite large). And it’s also particularly timely, as users are now being given more and more rights to repair both in the US and the European Union.