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Summary:

Taiwanese tech news site DigiTimes is reporting today that sources have informed them that California-based company OmniVision has won the contract to produce 3.2 megapixel sensors for use in Apple’s upcoming iPhone hardware refresh, expected this June. DigiTimes has been correct in the past, though they […]

iphonecameraTaiwanese tech news site DigiTimes is reporting today that sources have informed them that California-based company OmniVision has won the contract to produce 3.2 megapixel sensors for use in Apple’s upcoming iPhone hardware refresh, expected this June. DigiTimes has been correct in the past, though they don’t shed any light on the nature of their source. In this case, however, what they’re reporting isn’t exactly beyond the realm of possibility, since it looks fairly certain Apple will be introducing a new iPhone come June, and it makes sense to improve the camera, a source of complaint from many users.

Also not very surprising is the news that the iPhone will support video recording without the need to jailbreak the phone. It makes sense for Apple to include as many upgrade incentives as they can, and a better camera with video capability is a nice, tangible upgrade to entice customers who wouldn’t notice or take advantage of less obvious improvements under the hood.

An additional claim in the report, which might be taken with a little more skepticism, says that OmniVision has also been tapped by Apple to provide 5-megapixel sensors for another upcoming device, the details of which are not revealed. While some might be hoping that this is some kind of Apple netbook or tablet device, I think it’s far more likely that if true, this would actually be an extended contract to provide sensors for the iPhone to follow the update we’ll see in June.

Which makes me angry. Yes, it’s a good thing that Apple’s finally getting around to upgrading the iPhone’s camera, but there was nothing really barring them from doing so last time. And they’re still lagging with a 3.2-megapixel model this time around, instead of leapfrogging ahead and staying on the cusp with a 5-megapixel model. They’re holding back to hedge their bets for future upgrades, regardless of what they may claim about keeping costs down. I might start skipping models if they continue the trend of being so needlessly withholding.

  1. If it’s any consolation, I’ve seen some of the pics produced by the new bleeding edge 14-megapixel camera that will be in the new Nokia phones and the quality is not even as good as the current 2-megapixel camera in the iPhone 3G. So it’s probably true that the number megapixels are not wholly responsible for picture quality.

    Also, the company that’s making the new sensors also makes a cameraphone lens that (supposedly), turns even a 2-megapixel sensor into a camera equivalent to a regular point and shoot.

    Also, also …. There is a rumour that the new iPhone will have a flash, so that will make the pics even better.

    Apple could still &*@#(* it up, but it’s looking like the new camera might be pretty good actually. For instance, if they really are going to do video, I can’t see how they would come out with anything that wasn’t at least as good as the competition. So I would expect this thing to be at least as good as a “flip mineo” for example.

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  2. Not particularly interested in the MPs, but would love for the phone to have an integrated flash. A general refresh of Camera.app would be great – being able to touch the entire screen to take a photo as well as being able to see where it was taken on a map (think Places on iPhoto ’09).

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  3. Hmm could it be 3.2MP for the new iPhone and 5MP for the new iTouch in the fall? Ha, of course Apple will screw with us.

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  4. Hey, Apple loves to do this sort of thing! Of couse they will release a new iPhone yearly!! They did the same with iPods, remember???

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  5. Supercharged Friday, April 3, 2009

    More megapixels, less quality you have. Megapixels are just a resolution. More pixels a sensor would have, less its light sensitivity. I would prefer having 1MP sensor at the same physical size as this ugly 3.2MP sensor.

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  6. The number of megapixels is not important, it’s all about the optics. The current iPhone optics are appalling, hopefully the next one will be better.

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  7. hmm..

    i hope 5mp.. bcause EVERY TOUCHPHONE has 5mp…..
    some even have 8.1mp….

    3.2? thats a phonecam from 3 years ago..?

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  8. Honestly, who gives a damn how many megapixels the damned phone has? It’s a phone. Why are they wasting time upping the resolution when the DAMNED camera still has a 1-2 second delay? The iris closes and you think you’ve got your shot when instead you’ve got the blurred image of you lowering the camera. It’s absolutely stupid. Get the app (and the hardware if needed) up to par so you can TAKE pictures before you worry about making them higher res!! Typical Apple…all about the look, nothing about making it work right…

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  9. [...] iPhone ryktas även få en 3,2 megapixelkamera vilket säkert är välkommet hos många även om de flesta säkert hoppas på ett än större steg [...]

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  10. technolofly Monday, April 6, 2009

    Thing is, even if they upgrade it to 3.2megapixels, it’s still got a low quality chip processing the image and a low quality lens.. so you still get low quality, just a bigger amount of low quality!

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