Apple Turns to LG as Sony Falls Behind on Dual-Lens Camera Production for iPhone 7 Plus

iphone_7_plus_rearChris Chang of Nomura Securities has issued a note to investors claiming that Sony may be running behind schedule in terms of supplying Apple with dual-lens camera modules for the next-generation 5.5-inch iPhone, which rumors suggest may be called the iPhone 7 Plus or iPhone Pro.

We think Sony may not be able to deliver its full share of dual cameras to Apple due to: (1) lower-than-expected yield, and (2) damage to its production facility from the April earthquake in Kumamoto.

Chang believes that Apple will instead turn to LG as its primary supplier of dual-lens camera modules for the larger-sized iPhone expected to launch in September.

Both investment bank Nomura Securities and research firm Citi Research believe all 5.5-inch iPhones will be equipped with dual-lens camera modules, rather than just one model, echoing comments made by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo earlier this month.

Kuo previously said that Apple had two 5.5-inch versions of the iPhone 7 Plus in development, including one with a single iSight rear-facing camera and another boasting a dual-lens camera module, but he has since recanted. Meanwhile, the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 is widely expected to retain a single-lens camera.

Nomura Securities also believes that Apple will include optical image stabilization (OIS) on both the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone, whereas the feature has been exclusive to the larger iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6s Plus over the past two generations.

Leaked images, components, and renders potentially offer a first look at Apple's dual-lens camera system, but rumors have been conflicting about the exact design.

The switch to dual-lens camera modules has been linked to Apple's acquisition of LinX Technology, which could lead to "DSLR-quality" photos on iPhones. LinX's multi-aperture cameras are also smaller sized than single-aperture cameras, meaning the iPhone 7 Plus could have a slightly less protruding camera lens.

LinX camera modules offer a number of other benefits, including 3D depth mapping, better color accuracy and uniformity, ultra HDR, low noise levels, higher resolution, low costs, zero shutter lag, and a compact design that allows for edge-to-edge displays. A recent video demo provides a good overview of dual-camera technology.

Apple recently patented a dual-camera system consisting of one standard wide-angle lens, similar to what is found in the latest iPhones, and a second telephoto lens capable of capturing zoomed-in video and photos. In a recent video, we visualized what the interface could look like on future iOS devices.


Dual-camera smartphones like the Huawei P9 and P9 Plus are expected to inspire "killer apps" from smartphone manufacturers and third-party developers.

Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

JoEw Avatar
70 months ago
I hope it doesn't look that ugly in final production.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ksnell Avatar
70 months ago
Getting sick of all this fragmentation. Hoping they don't go this route. Can we just get one really awesome iPhone model and call it a day?

This is a tech company, not a clothing company. Adding color and size options is just a distraction for stalled innovation.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DocMultimedia Avatar
70 months ago
No dual-camera on the 4.7 inch will cost Apple one sale. I can't handle a gargantuan iPhone in my pocket...but I really want a dual-camera. Guess I'll be waiting to see what the iPhone 8 brings.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
doelcm82 Avatar
70 months ago
I realize that lotsa people take lotsa pictures with their phone, but thats not me. The fancy camera is not a deal maker for me, but I can see how it could be for many people. While on the topic of me, the form factor of the plus phones is just too big.
Yep. That's how it works. The fancy camera IS the deal maker for me, but by catering to me, they may leave you behind.

I like it better when they cater to me.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bigpics Avatar
70 months ago
In the world of multi-lens/multi-sensor phone cams to come there are infinite possibilities for how things will play out and it's easy to get them confused, especially when even the tech writers throw mis-defined terms around so loosely.

The term "Optical Zoom," e.g., is the most misused in all of mobile photography. OPTICAL zoom changes the angle of view and the perspective/visual relationship between foreground and background objects as you move in or out by changing the focal length of the lens.

OTOH, "Digital Zooming," no matter how you cut it, is simply in-camera cropping, NOT true optical zoom. It may have been accomplished in some phone or other, but even so, virtually non-existent on cell cams to date - although external clip-on lenses CAN change the perspective (at the cost of some optical degredation).

Once we go to multiple lenses, here are two of the approaches used to date, and from the article/video, it looks like Apple might be going in a third.

1. The LG G5's two lens array combines a "normal" cell perspective lens and a super-wide angle lens, and doesn't blend the images at all - it's just two cams with different focal lengths (and different sensors, one 16MP and one 8MP), so gives you an "optical JUMP" between the two - each of which can be digitally zoomed, so not a smooth zoom across many focal lengths. However, in the interface, it does give the illusion of OZ by digitally zooming as much as one lens can and then jumping abruptly into using the other focal length.

2. The Huawei P9 dual lens module works on a different principle, which resembles the LAB color space in PhotoShop - and which sounds more like what I THOUGHT Apple seems to be up to until I read/watched the article.

In this system, both lenses are the same focal length, but one is used to gather only color (chrominance) information while the other is strictly B/W and gathers only light levels information (luminance) - so a very sharp, colorless rendering... ....and then the chroma and luminance data can be combined into a much sharper picture.

With two lenses shooting from slightly different angles, there are also a variety of interesting possibilities for recording and utilizing the stereoscopic (3D) data generated by the two lenses slightly different view of the image - including some beyond a 3D effect - which likely wouldn't be a primary result if the two lenses are gathering two different classes of data.

3. According to the demo video here, you also wouldn't be getting digital blending, rather the ability to shoot split-screen videos (or stills) at two focal lengths simultaneously - more like the LG G5 but without the "semi-fake OZ." To me this sounds like a waste of what could be done like the above two approaches.

For one thing, if both focal lengths are the same and used much like the principle behind multi-mirror telescopes, then inherently, gathering twice the light in the same exposure should result in much improved low light shots.

So I hope it's not as shown in the video, or at least that there will be considerably more to it THAN that....
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keysofanxiety Avatar
70 months ago
So... once again... because you have a hard time making decisions, I should be limited from being able to choose from a base model, or a "pro" model.
So... once again... stop fragmenting a line, confusing the consumer, and just make EVERY iPhone model a 'Pro' model. Consistency, standardisation, and quality. At their core, (pardon the pun), that's what Apple have done best.

Would you prefer different iterations of OS X too?

Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iCloud General Feature

iCloud+'s New Custom Email Domain Feature Now Available in Beta

Wednesday August 25, 2021 7:48 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, users with a paid iCloud+ storage plan can personalize their iCloud email address with a custom domain name, such as johnny@appleseed.com, and the feature is now available in beta. iCloud+ subscribers interested in setting up a custom email domain can visit the beta.icloud.com website, select "Account Settings" under their name, and select ...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived in October 2020 in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone...
maxresdefault

'Being James Bond' Retrospective Will Be Free to Watch Through Apple TV App

Tuesday August 31, 2021 8:25 am PDT by
Update 9/7/21: "Being James Bond" is now available to watch through the Apple TV app. Ahead of the theatrical release of James Bond film "No Time To Die" on October 8 in the United States, a 45-minute retrospective titled "Being James Bond" will be available to watch for free through the Apple TV app, according to Deadline. The story from MGM is said to feature Daniel Craig reflecting ...
maxresdefault

New MacBook Pro Models Coming at WWDC, Suggests Leaker

Monday May 24, 2021 1:27 pm PDT by
New MacBook Pro models are coming at WWDC, according to leaker Jon Prosser who has a mixed track record when it comes to predicting Apple's plans. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Prosser provided no additional information, but there are new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models in the works. The new MacBook Pros will feature the most radical redesign to the MacBook Pro ...
calculatorapp

iOS 11 Bug: Typing 1+2+3 Quickly in the Calculator App Won't Get You 6

Tuesday October 24, 2017 2:03 pm PDT by
A bug in the built-in Calculator app in iOS 11 is getting some major attention this week, despite the fact that it's been around since iOS 11 was in beta testing. At issue is a calculator animation that causes some symbols to be ignored when calculations are entered in rapid succession. You can try it for yourself: Type 1+2+3 and then the equals sign into the Calculator app quickly. Due to...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
Top Stories 75 Thumbnail

Top Stories: Last-Minute iPhone 13 Rumors, Apple Announces App Store Changes, and More

Saturday September 4, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The finish line is in sight! Apple's annual iPhone event is likely just a week or so away and all eyes will be on the company as it unveils the next version of its most popular product line. With any luck, we'll also see the next-generation Apple Watch and perhaps even some new AirPods. Other news this week saw Apple making some more changes to its App Store policies in response to a...