When smartphones first appeared on the market, the idea of being able to carry a camera on one’s person wherever you go was a unique concept. It is one that has revolutionized the world in many ways, with the prominence of image sharing via social media such an ingrained part of the culture that some young people in particular probably cannot imagine life without it.
Smartphone cameras have proved so popular that there is an increasing onus on manufacturers of the technology to provide ever more sophisticated photography technology in their products. With this in mind, there has been a particular emphasis ahead of the release of the iPhone 7 on the camera provisions included in this market-leading device. And thus the iPhone 7 has been linked with some pretty spectacular technology.
iPhone 7 Pro: Dual-camera divergence
Yes it seems increasingly likely that there will be something of a divergence with the cameras offered in the iPhone 7 range. As has been suggested by some analysts, it could be that the more affordable models of the forthcoming iPhone 7 do not benefit from the dual-camera technology that has been particularly linked with this next generation smartphone. And this information must be taken extremely seriously considering the source of it.
The almost legendary Ming-Chi Kuo has indicated in his latest research note that the iPhone 7 Pro will get this dual-camera technology, but that both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be armed with similar snappers to the last generation iPhone 6S. Kuo has already indicated his belief that Apple will offer consumers three separate models of the iPhone 7 when it goes on sale in September, with this iPhone 7 Pro unit effectively a completely new handset.
Commenting on the subject, Kuo predicted that “new iPhone shipments to be capped by similar form factor as iPhone 6s & 6s Plus; top hardware upgrade is dual-camera (5.5-inch model only), though many competing models with dual-camera will launch soon, joining others already on the market; first impressions could underwhelm.”
One caveat for this particular comment is that Kuo does not make it entirely clear whether the device that he is referring to is indeed the iPhone 7 Pro or instead that the iPhone 7 Plus will also receive the same dual-lens setup. But he does make it clear that he believes that the 4.7-inch standard iPhone 7 smartphone will not receive the dual-camera technology.
It is interesting that Apple is moving to utilize this technology now, but the decision seems to be indicative of general trends in the mobile industry. Dual-camera technology offers potentially massive improvement in picture quality, but it is a significantly more flexible innovation than simply offering more detailed photographs.
In particular, it would be possible for Apple to include multiple different lens types in the iPhone 7 as a result, which would enable, for example, both wide angle and telephoto images to be captured. This major innovation has already been included in the LG G5, with the Korean Android-driven unit benefiting from the ability to create an optical zoom effect by utilizing its pair of rear snappers. This is something that the iPhone range is not capable of at present, and indeed it is nigh on impossible without external accessory lenses being fitted.
The other major benefits of dual-lens technology is that it will enable the iPhone 7 – or just the iPhone 7 Pro if it is only included in this model – to capture considerably more light through its camera. This is hugely beneficial to any smartphone, as it enables significantly improved photography in darker conditions. By effectively doubling the amount of light captured in a single shot, the overall picture quality produced is massively improved, particularly with regard to reducing image noise.
Huawei has also jumped on the dual-camera bandwagon in the last few days, with its latest P9 flagship featuring two rear-facing cameras. One of the interesting aspects of the new smartphone from the Chinese manufacturer is that it provides increased perception from the ability to utilize two eyes rather than one. This is a fundamental advantage of the dual-camera system, and is probably one of the factors that has contributed to Apple apparently deciding to include this in the iPhone 7.
There is already precedent for Apple delivering different standards of photographic capabilities with varying models in an iPhone range, as the existing iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus models offer different camera specs. The larger iPhone 6S phablet offers optical image stabilization, which significantly improves the performance of the smartphone, both with regard to video stability and still photography in low-light shooting conditions.
However, it is fair to assert that including the dual-camera setup in only the premium smartphone in the iPhone 7 range will widen the gap between the smartphone models manufactured by the market-leading consumer electronics company. There is obvious logic in arming the premium device in the series with improved features, but Apple must be careful not to compromise the quality of its Mainstream smartphone.
Although the Plus range of the iPhone series has proven to be popular since it was introduced a couple of years ago, many consumers prefer the smaller and more convenient standard iPhone 6S. There are thus many customers of Apple who will never opt for the larger variant in the iPhone range, yet many of these people would surely appreciate the dual-lens technology as well. Is Apple potentially pushing some of its loyal customers into the hands of other brands? Only time will tell…
Meanwhile, as Apple continues to prepare for the release of the iPhone 7 behind the scenes, a resourceful Twitter user this week provided an artistic impression of what the iPhone 7 could look like once the iPhone jack has been phased out. Wireless headphones are anticipated for the iPhone 7, and we got our first glimpse of how this could work in the device with a hoax Apple iPhone advert.
It won’t be too long until the real deal hits the stores, and it looks increasingly likely that dual-camera technology will be included in at least one of the iPhone 7 models.