Hope for Optical Image Stabilization in iPhone 6 Revived with Supplier Rumors
Late last week, shares of InvenSense rose on rumors that the company had won a contract to supply sensors for Apple's upcoming iPhone 6. InvenSense supplies sensors such as accelerometers and gyroscopes to major phone manufacturers, but the company has yet to publicly land a deal with Apple. The validity of the rumor seems up for debate, however, as a Needham & Company analyst soon released a note saying that he "did not get the impression" from InvenSense's CEO and CFO that such an agreement was in place. Of course, that information would be under a strict non-disclosure agreement with Apple, severely limiting what InvenSense executives could tell the analyst.
Regardless, The Motley Fool speculates on what InvenSense could bring to Apple. While InvenSense could offer drop-in replacements for the current gyroscope and accelerometer sensors in the iPhone, the company also provides Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) technology for mobile phones:
There's one additional socket that InvenSense could win on the iPhone -- an OIS gyroscope. The burgeoning technology is used to improve smartphone camera's by stabilizing the image using a gyroscope. Samsung neglected to use the technology in the Galaxy S5, but Apple may decide to integrate it into the iPhone 6. If it does, InvenSense is a clear choice.
Optical Image Stabilization remains relatively new in the smartphone market, and uses a motion-tracking system to compensate for device shakiness, allowing for sharper photos and video. This video demonstrates the product:
Apple presently offers software-based image stabilization in its iPhone 5s, but has definitely been researching optical image stabilization for the iPhone. Earlier this year, an Apple patent application detailing an OIS system was published. The employee who authored that patent was hired by Apple in 2012 from a company working on the same optical image stabilization technology.
Whether or not Apple is actually planning on incorporating Optical Image Stabilization technology in the next iPhone or not, it's clear the company's engineers are working on it. Historically, Apple has made steady improvements to the iPhone camera with each subsequent generation, and the last several generations have focused on image quality improvements rather than simply increasing megapixel counts.