A Weibo post from ESM China analyst Sun Chang Xu indicates that the iPhone 6 could have a larger pixel size in addition to electronic image stabilization (EIS), rather than optical image stabilization (OIS). The analyst predicts that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will boost the size of the pixels on from 1.5 um in the iPhone 5S to 1.75 for the iPhone 6. A larger pixel size would mean that the quality of the photos would be better because the camera would be able to pull in more light than the camera in the previous iPhone model.

iPhone 6

Pros and cons of using EIS in the iPhone 6

The difference between EIS and OIS may not seem obvious at first. OIS basically means that the camera stabilizes the image using the lens, while EIS means that the camera is stabilizing the image electronically. To stabilize an image, OIS adjusts the lens in the camera to counteract any movement of the camera itself. Many smartphones use OIS. EIS, on the other hand, uses an algorithm to electronically decrease how much motion is occurring. Unfortunately, however, CNET reports that this process can decrease the quality and resolution of a photo.

However, using EIS instead of OIS would shrink the size of the camera. If Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) really does want the handset to be ultra-slim, then it will need to get the size of the components as small as possible. We’ve seen some artist renderings which feature a camera which actually sticks out from the iPhone 6. The reason for that is because those artists were assuming Apple would use OIS.

Which problem will Apple solve?

So whether Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) uses OIS or EIS will depend entirely on which problem is more important to solve: keeping the camera from sticking out from the ultra-slim handset or significantly improving the quality of the iPhone 6’s photos. The real question here is whether Apple cares more about the aesthetics of how the handset looks and would rather have a better-looking device at the expense of photo quality.