The US Patent & Trademark Office has published a patent application from Apple for an interesting adapter that can be used to attach phones, or other electronics, to camera stabilizers and tripods. The adapters are designed to be highly portable.

Patently Apple wonders if Apple will license the patented design for third-party manufacturers or sell the new product, if it ever does sell it, as an official Apple accessory. If the product does release, it'll compete against similar products from a wide range of manufacturers.

The adapters look to be quite versatile in the patent application, allowing users to charge their iPhone while using the adapter and easily place their smartphone in different orientations and positions. The adapter includes a high-friction surface and a magnet, which should secure MagSafe iPhone models. The adapter also includes a built-in Lightning port, and the base of the adapter has a connector to attach to a stabilizer, such as a tripod, as shown in the patent application.

It seems that a MagSafe-enabled iPhone could also charge through the adapter itself, which would be useful during extended video recording sessions. It would also leave the phone's Lightning port open for use with a storage device or other accessories.

There are plenty of adapters for using an iPhone on a tripod available on the market, including from well-known manufacturers like FotodioX, Peak Design and Manfrotto. Based on the patent application, it isn't clear if Apple's proposed adapter would work on models without MagSafe, as there isn't an adjustable clamp to fit different iPhone models. This would be a big difference from the existing products on the market, which all use a clamp-style design or require the use of a specific case, like with Peak Design's Mobile Creator Kit.

Again, as of now, it's just a patent. Apple patents a lot of products that never see the light of day. For example, in 2014, Apple patented a bayonet lens mount for mobile devices and Apple hasn't released attachable lenses for its smartphones, although plenty of other companies have. In fact, alongside the magnetic adapter, Apple also filed patents for a magnetic car vent mount device and a third magnets-based device.