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Apple Takes Early Step Towards iPhones With 'Above 12-Megapixel' Rear Cameras

Apple reportedly has booked production capacity for "above 12-megapixel" camera lens modules at a new factory being built by smartphone lens maker Largan Precision in Taichung, Taiwan, according to DigiTimes.


The report, citing "market rumors," claims Largan is the only supplier that can meet Apple's minimum yield rate. The new factory is reportedly designed to accommodate monthly production of 600 million lens modules.

Largan will allegedly start production in October 2017, suggesting the camera lens modules could be destined for future iPhone models released in 2018 or later, rather than the so-called iPhone 8 this fall.

It is widely rumored that the iPhone 8 will have a vertically-aligned dual-lens rear camera, with optical image stabilization for both the wide-angle and telephoto lenses, but no credible rumors have surfaced about its quality.

Apple improves its iPhone cameras each year, so an increased megapixel count of some kind is certainly still possible this year.

Apple's latest iPhone and iPad models, including the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, are all equipped with 12-megapixel rear-facing cameras and 7-megapixel front-facing cameras.

Keep in mind that megapixels don't always matter, as even a TV or monitor with 4K Ultra HD resolution of 3,840×2,160 pixels only has roughly 8.3 megapixels, which isn't enough to display a 12-megapixel photo at full resolution.

Nevertheless, if this rumor is accurate, then perhaps we'll see an iPhone with a 16- or 18-megapixel rear camera or higher in the future.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone X


Top Rated Comments

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11 months ago
More dynamic range and a much improved low light and high ISO would be my preference. Those are areas in which the iPhone is absolutely lacking compared to cameras with larger sensors and for sure more pixels don‘t help in this regard, quite the opposite.
Rating: 27 Votes
11 months ago

A 18-megaxiel camera is going to be awesome, specially with a wider aperture. Morepixels produce better low light photos and the more pixels you capture, the more you can crop out.


More pixels at the same sensor size tends to produce worse low light photos
Rating: 15 Votes
11 months ago

The iPhone Edition BETTER have a much better camera than the iPhone 7
I mean a $1000+ should


What does it have to do with this?

My Canon G16 has 12MPx and its a much better camera that any smartphone on earth so this is kind of a non sequitur.
If they can keep the noise down in such small pixels that's OK, otherwise its useless. Getting more Mpx of noise is not giving you more actual info.
Rating: 14 Votes
11 months ago
The iPhone Edition BETTER have a much better camera than the iPhone 7
I mean a $1000+ should
Rating: 11 Votes
11 months ago
Doesn't 600 Million lens modules per MONTH seem a little excessive considering the amount of iPhones sold? This is still a massive amount if iPads are included.
Rating: 9 Votes
11 months ago
More pixels -> smaller pixel -> less light -> lower voltage -> more noise -> worse images.

Also the relative low quality of minuscule lenses puts a limit on the sensor resolution.

Ways to lower noise:
1. More light -> slower shutter speed or wider aperture.
2. Backlit sensor -> chip structures no longer obscuring light path.
3. Binning -> combining pixels either on-chip, in readout electronics, or in software.
4. Cooling -> could be done with a Peltier element.

1 and 2 are already done.
3 could be an option to get lower noise low-light images, but it reduces the final pixel count.
4 Would be 'cool' to have a tiny Peltier element in our iPhone. But because you'd need a vacuum sensor chamber to prevent moist buildup, this is rather impractical.
Rating: 9 Votes
11 months ago

What does it have to do with this?

My Canon G16 has 12MPx and its a much better camera that any smartphone on earth so this is kind of a non sequitur.
If they can keep the noise down in such small pixels that's OK, otherwise its useless. Getting more Mpx of noise is not giving you more actual info.

That's why he wrote "better camera" and not "more megapixels."
Rating: 7 Votes
11 months ago

More dynamic range and a much improved low light and high ISO would be my preference. Those are areas in which the iPhone is absolutely lacking compared to cameras with larger sensors and for sure more pixels don‘t help in this regard, quite the opposite.


This.
No need to pack more MP in the iPhone, we need better low light pictures. I'm quite happy with my the pictures I take with my iPhone but there is room for improvement in low light, and I hate using the flash even if their dual tone is good so I really want to take my pics without it whenever possible.
And I'd say dual camera should be standard, even on the 4.7 model. We already pay a premium price for that, it is a shame we have to pay $100 more and have a bigger display just to get the dual camera
Rating: 6 Votes
11 months ago
I'd rather have larger pixels and fewer of them to capture more light.

It's scary to cram 12,000,000 pixels in a sensor the size of my pinky nail.

:P
Rating: 6 Votes
11 months ago

Yeah, you want larger pixels for better low-light photography. A larger camera sensor would help with this. Twelve Megapixels is plenty at this point. If they are increasing the pixel count, I really hope they are also getting a larger camera sensor. They just increased the sensor last year in the iPhone 7 for the first time since the 5s, but I'd still like a larger one in the upcoming iPhone. Maybe something like a 1/1.7″. If they keep the same 12MP camera, then it would have the largest pixels of any iPhone ever at like 1.9 µm (compared to the current best of 1.5µm in the iPhone 5s and 6). For comparison, the iPhone 6s has 1.2µm, and I've read that the iPhone 7 has 1.3µm, but I think that the iPhone 7 might actually be the same 1.2µm pixels as the iPhone 6s. Apple has been less vocal about the camera sensor after the pixel size shrinkage.


Noise performance is roughly proportional to total captured light (sensor size/aperture) rather than pixel size. Pixel size barely factors into the equation. For instance, the Sony A7RII with 42MP has slightly better noise performance than its 12MP sibling, at the same target final image size.
Smaller pixels capture less light per pixel, but that's irrelevant.

Also, the article makes the mistake of equating screen pixels and camera pixels. A screen pixel contains full RGB information, where as a camera pixel captures either Red, Green or Blue, with two green pixels for every red and green in a Beyer layout. It requires four camera pixels to capture the full RGB information. The resolutions are NOT directly comparable.
Rating: 4 Votes

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