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Apple Reportedly Looking to Purchase LED Camera Flash Components

AppleInsider reports on information from a source claiming that Apple is looking to acquire significant quantities of LED camera flash components, sparking speculation that the company is planning to add flash capabilities to its camera on the iPhone, and possibly the iPod touch should it also gain a camera.

People familiar with Apple's initiative claim the electronics maker is seeking allotments of LED camera flash components in the tens of millions for delivery during the 2010 calendar year, meaning future iPhones -- and possibly the iPod touch -- are the most likely recipients of those parts, due to their sales volume. Those same people say that Philips' Lumileds Lighting sector is believed to be the front-runner for Apple's business and may have already secured the design win.

Despite the generally-decent image quality of Apple's existing 3.2-megapixel camera in the iPhone 3GS, increasing numbers of smartphones, including the Motorola Droid and Google Nexus One, have been moving to 5-megapixel camera sensors with LED flash to assist in low-light situations.

Apple has reportedly secured orders with current camera sensor supplier OmniVision Technologies for large quantities of 5-megapixel camera sensors, likely destined for the next-generation iPhone. Apple had been planning to add a camera to the iPod touch when it was revised last September, but apparently scrapped the change relatively late in the design process, possibly due to challenges presented by the device's thin profile. Many still expect Apple to add a camera to the iPod touch in the future, although it is unknown how the company will deal with the design challenges.