There’s a rumor brewing that Apple is planning to abandon its reliance on OmniVision for manufacturing the camera sensor used in the iPhone for the smartphone’s next revision, possibly looking to Sony to supply an eight-megapixel part of its own. We still don’t know if that suggestion is true, but if so, Apple may want to rethink its decision, since a new OmniVision 12-megapixel sensor has been announced with some very impressive specs.
The OmniVision OV12825 image sensor has a full 12.6-megapixel resolution, which already puts it ahead of the proposed Sony part (and yes, one shouldn’t rely on pixel count alone when judging sensor performance, but until we have some devices built around these parts to compare, it’s a starting point), just for still-imagery.
Where the OV12825 really sounds like a winner is with its video specs; OmniVision says the sensor will be able to record full HD 1080p video at 60 frames per second. That kind of video bandwidth would push the limits of what even the most powerful smartphone can handle. LG’s Optimus 2X, for instance, has been having problems recording 1080p video at even 24fps, let alone 60.
Even if Apple does switch suppliers for the next iPhone’s camera, we should still see the OV12825 pop up in hardware sooner or later, as it’s purpose-built for smartphones. That could happen sooner than you know it, with OmniVision nearly ready to start mass production on the chip.