Next iPhone May Keep 8MP Sensor, Look to Software for Improvements

iPhone CameraShares of Taiwanese supplier Largan Precision Co. fell Wednesday following rumors that Apple’s next iPhone won’t feature upgraded camera hardware. Largan has been the main supplier for Apple’s iPhone camera since the iPhone 4S in late 2011.

As noted by The China Post Thursday, Largan’s stock price took a tumble following a report from financial firm Nomura Securities that the “iPhone 6” will retain the existing 8-megapixel camera sensor used by the last two generations of iPhone. Other improvements to the camera in the next iPhone may arrive by way of improved glass and new software features, such as enhanced image stabilization, but these factors won’t help Largan secure lucrative contracts for more advanced camera sensor technology.

Rumors of the next iPhone’s features and launch date run rampant, with many expecting Apple to unveil a model with a larger screen to compete with popular 5-inch+ Android devices. Whether Apple moves the entire product line to larger screen sizes or chooses to bifurcate its iPhone offering into an iPad Air / iPad mini-like split remains to be seen, but reports suggest the market may find out as soon as May.

As for the next phone’s camera, even with its relatively low megapixel count compared to competing devices, Apple has achieved notable improvements in camera performance on the iPhone 5 and 5s thanks to additions such as a sapphire lens cover, wider aperture, and TrueTone flash. A number of new software features like burst shooting and panorama modes have also improved the overall user experience. It's therefore likely that even if the 8-megapixel sensor is retained, the next iPhone will still represent an improvement in image quality over the already excellent iPhone 5s.