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Next iPhone Camera to Be 3.2 Megapixels

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iphonecameraTaiwanese tech news site DigiTimes is reporting today that sources have informed them that California-based company OmniVision (s ovti) has won the contract to produce 3.2 megapixel sensors for use in Apple’s (s aapl) 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.

29 Responses to “Next iPhone Camera to Be 3.2 Megapixels”

  1. Wtf man, I just got an itouch 3rd gen yesterday, and it has 5mp camera. And now the next iphone is only 3.2mp thhat means apple company is bullshitting all these year. I‘ll never but an ipod product ever again.

  2. Billy Smith

    With such a small aperture as the iphone (and others) have for the lens, it doesn’t give any benefit to have a higher density sensor. You won’t have enough light or a sufficient lens to reap the rewards. 3.2MP sounds good to me. The megapixel race in camera phones is just a marketing gimmick unless the form factor was to change drastically; the phones would need to get a lot bigger and I don’t see that happening.

  3. @iUseNokia…
    I’m with you on the digital diary tool, but I would argue that especially as a diary the MP count is better kept low, 3.2 is way plenty. Yes the lens needs improvement as does software control and above all macro capability for logging small type, small details etc. Even given the current crap camera, the software apps available now pared with a better camera would kill it.

  4. iUseNokiaPhoneCams

    I have used macs for 20 years and would love an iPhone – but I STILL cannot bring myself to get an iPhone for ONE reason – the camera is a piece of poo. Seriously, I use my phone as a portable digital diary and shoot about 20 images daily – my Nokia 5Mp / Carl Zeiss is absolutely wonderful and it’s now almost 2 years old – why can’t Apple beat or match this with their third iteration of this great technology?? Come on, Apple – get it right.

  5. technolofly

    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!

  6. LoneGunman

    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…

  7. Supercharged

    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.

  8. Not particularly interested in the MPs, but would love for the phone to have an integrated flash. A general refresh of 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).

  9. Gazoobee

    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.