A new report claims that Apple will use a South Korean-made front camera in the next generation of the iPhone 14 series. The upcoming iPhone 14 lineup will reportedly use a higher-end sensor to improve the quality. As a result of the recent change, Apple will have to pay roughly three times more, increasing the cost of the device. For reference, the current generation iPhone 13 uses a 12MP, f/2.2, 1/3.6” sensor.
Korea IT News reports that Apple may have changed the front camera on the upcoming iPhone 14 series to a high-end component. If the report is to be believed, LG Innotek could supply the new camera sensors alongside Sharp (via GSMArena).
Apple previously used front cameras from Chinese manufacturers and Japan’s Sharp, classified as “low-cost” parts. The report claims there had been some quality problems from the Chinese camera manufacturers, which may have prompted Apple to ditch them in favor of a higher quality component.
Korea IT News says that the “front camera is one-third of the unit price of the rear-facing camera.” The new sensor that LG Innotek will add significant price increases to the components needed for the iPhone 14 series, and they are said to cost three times more than previous models. As a result of a higher-end sensor, the camera is expected to have autofocus (AF), among other features that will greatly improve the performance.
It’s also worth noting that Apple worked with LG Innotek previously, as the company is known to be supplying the rear camera units for the iPhones. Now that the low-end parts are booted, LG Innotek and Sharp will supply the front cameras for the upcoming iPhone 14 series. Another interesting tidbit is that LG Innotek was initially only supposed to be used for the iPhone 15 series, but Apple made a few last-minute changes.
Why did Apple use “low-cost” parts for premium iPhones in the past?
Companies often use “low-cost” parts to save money on components, which allows them to spend more on R&D, other parts, and marketing. All manufacturers do this, not just Apple, and it’s a well-known practice to continue development elsewhere.
Apple always had a decent front-facing camera, but it didn’t usually opt for an autofocus optical system, likely due to the involved cost. It’s surprising to see Apple spend more, but it’s not out of the ordinary. The recent issues with their previous supply chain partners likely set the company back, and it needed to use its plan B or C to make up for the lost time and quality issues.
When parts cost significantly more in devices, manufacturers often pass the additional cost onto customers through increased product prices. If Apple decides not to swallow the changes and pass the inflated prices on to customers, we could see the iPhone 14 series cost more this year, although it’s too early to tell how much the next generation of iPhones will set us back at the time of publishing.
What advancements will the new front camera bring to the iPhone 14 series?
The report claims the iPhone 14 series will have a higher-end front-facing camera, which could significantly improve the quality of the image and videos captured. Additionally, the higher sensor could also bring AF to the selfie camera, increasing the sharpness and other aspects of captured content. The new sensor could also take better low-light images, and improve the night mode functionality for the selfie shooter.
The new sensor also allows Apple to capture more data. The higher-quality image could quickly be processed on the next generation of the Apple A16 Bionic chip, improving overall quality, including shadows, contrast, highlights, and other features.
We would be happy to see some new and higher-quality front-facing cameras on the new iPhone 14 series. In recent years, Samsung, Google, HUAWEI, OPPO and other companies have stepped up their game, providing ever more functions to capture fun moments using AR and other eye-catching features. We can only hope that Apple’s Deep Fusion system is used for the front-facing cameras to improve the output and the quality of the new selfies.
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