Apple has been linked with a high-quality camera for the iPhone 7 for sometime, but events this week have intensified these rumors. Just days ago, Apple acquired the Israeli-based camera technology company LinX Computational Imaging Ltd for $20 million. And this has led financial analysts to project that the iPhone 7, along with the next raft of iPad tablets, will incorporate some extremely advanced camera technology.
iPhone 7 – Professional-standard cameras
According to Kota Ezawa, a Citigroup analyst, the iPhone 7 is likely to incorporate dual-3D cameras, with capabilities on par with DSLR cameras. This would unquestionably be a massive step forward for the smartphone series, particularly as the previous iteration of the iPhone range, the iPhone 6, featured a relatively meagre 8-megapixel snapper.
In line with this prediction, Ezawa believes that the iPhone 7 will not be released until 2016, with an upgraded version of the existing and commercially rampant iPhone 6 to be released at some point this year. This would seem to be a likely scenario, as if Apple is really intending the iPhone 7 to be a state of the art device then it seems certain that more development time will be needed for the handset.
Apple to seek Sony collaboration
Another assertion that Ezawa made in relation to this is that the primary supplier of these dual-3D cameras will be the Sony corporation. This would make apparent practical sense for Apple, as Sony has recently made a series of large investments in order to develop image sensor technologies.
A collaboration with Apple would undoubtedly be welcomed by Sony, particularly as its mobile phone division has been extremely unsuccessful in recent years. Despite a better than expected launch of its PlayStation 4 video games console, Sony made a significant loss during 2014, and attributed this publicly to its underperforming mobile phone department.
With Apple unquestionably a market leader in the smartphone niche, Citigroup also predicts that its moving towards DSLR-like technology will be a watershed moment for the mobile industry. Citigroup predicts that within two years, around one-in-five smartphone manufacturers will also adopt this technology in an attempt to keep up with Apple. The widespread adoption of this professional-standard camera technology could begin in 2016, and this would suggest that by the end of next year it will be possible for a wide range of consumers to take professional standard photographs with a smartphone.
The conclusions of Citigroup are also supported by other researchers and analysts. For example, Tammy Lai, a Macquarie Research analyst, has expressed her concurrence with Ezawa’s opinion.
Facilitating the development of SLR functionality would not be straightforward for Apple, but it has been suggested that the corporation could develop this mobile technique by utilizing numerous small sensors instead of a single large one. Lai has suggested that Largan Precision and LG Innotek, you are both already suppliers of camera technology for the iPhone series, could be intimately involved with the development of this proposed technology.
Apple to ditch Samsung for chips?
In other news which will have a big influence over the iPhone 7, it has been reported that Apple has made a significant decision regarding the chip supplies for the next-generation handset. According to sources close to Apple, the consumer electronics giant has decided to remove Samsung from the chipset producing loop, apparently due to the success of its own flagship Galaxy S6 smartphone.
Apple is reportedly concerned that as Samsung will be required to supply the 14nm chips inside its own Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, that the company will struggle to keep up with Apple’s demands. But Apple may also have concerns about committing itself to this decision considering that pre-orders for the Apple Watch are already reckoned to be around 2.3 million. To put this figure into perspective, this already slightly exceeds the number of Galaxy Gear smartwatches which have been solved by Samsung in the lifecycle of the device.
Whether this chip decision would just affect the iPhone 7, which looks increasingly likely to release in 2016, all the upgraded version of the iPhone 6 likely to be named the iPhone success, remains to be seen. Both Samsung and Apple will be jockeying for position over the next 12 months, as they both work on their smartphone strategies, and this chip-related news will only complicated situation for both of these behemoth manufacturers.
Apple moves to avoid ‘bendgate’ repeat
One of the bugbears that the iPhone 6 had to deal with was the suggestion that it was not as durable as other smartphones. This particularly intensified after the ‘bendgate‘ media storm, which was somewhat embarrassing for Apple. Of course, in real terms the number of devices actually being affected by this phenomenon was little more than infinitesimal, but Apple will definitely want avoid any further negative headlines when the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 are released.
With this in mind, it is already being reported that the iPhone 7 will be constructed from the same material as the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch Sport uses Apple’s own Series 7000 aluminum alloy which is designed and considered to be stronger than the material is currently utilized in the production of the iPhone. Although they release of the iPhone 7 could be as much as 18 months away, Taiwan’s Economic Daily News suggests that this revolutionary aluminum material will be a central part of its construction.
This rumor must be looked upon as speculation at this point in time, as the development of the iPhone 7 now looks to be very much a medium-term prospect. However, it would certainly make sense for Apple to utilize this proprietary material in the production of the iPhone, for more than one reason.
Aside from the durability that the aluminum will evidently offer, constructing the iPhone 7 from this metallic substance would strengthen the ties between the Apple Watch and iPhone 7. This could open the door for Apple to include sapphire glass in the iPhone 7, something that has been mooted for quite some time. This glass is considered to be more durable than the gorilla cgass which is presently used to protect the iPhone 7 screen, and Apple has already utilized the substance in the manufacture and construction of the Apple Watch.
iPhone 6s and 6s to come in 2015
As mentioned previously, it looks increasingly likely that we will see an iPhone released this year that can be considered an upgrade of the commercially successful iPhone 6. This likely iPhone 6s device now looks certain to be accompanied by an iPhone 6c. The latest reports indicate that Apple is working hard to produce a smaller version of is flagship smartphone, which could feature a 4-inch display.
With Apple also upgrading the phablet version of the iPhone 6 Plus, which proved so popular in 2014, this would effectively mean that the iPhone series represented three separate product niches. This would be fantastic news for Apple, considering that it promised both the city and investors at the beginning of 2014 that it would invest time and effort into creating new revenue streams.
Although we may not see the iPhone 7 for another 18 months, and almost certainly not until 2016, this hotly anticipated and market-leading device is already beginning to take shape.