With the LinkedIn privacy scare and Google’s 3D maps taking over news today, we’ve seen little updates concerning Apple’s upcoming iPhone. Enter KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who argues in today’s note to clients that the next iPhone will use back and front cameras re-engineered with thinness in mind.

And if you’re new to iPhoneography, you’re probably thinking that a higher-resolution CMOS sensor is also in the cards. Not so fast…

As Apple likes to argue, the quality of the photograph isn’t just about the megapixels.

According to Kuo (via MacRumors), the back camera that got re-branded as iSight with the iPhone 4S will still be eight megapixels. What the company is apparently doing is increasing aperture from f/2.4 to f/2.2 in order to reduce camera module height by nearly 0.5 mm.

It’s actually gonna file as “the first-ever slimmed rear camera of all iPhones”, which will help Apple’s engineers achieve a desired thinness of the iPhone 5.

Changing the back camera module’s size and increasing aperture could introduce serious engineering challenges:

Larger aperture means more noises. In addition, the reduced thickness means even greater challenges for lens design and assembly, as not only the lens, but also the voice coil motor (VCM) and CMOS image sensor (CIS) need to be slimmer.

Finally, the compact camera module (CCM) suppler, responsible for the terminal assembly, will be confronted by assembly yield.

The analyst is also betting that Apple’s rumored adoption of a 16:9 display will require an HD upgrade for the front camera because the currently used module is tailored to the 4:3 aspect ratio.

And if there’s any substance to a recently leaked schematic, the iPhone 5 will move the FaceTime camera to the center, right above the earpiece, so expect more centered images as well.

Also, this:

The report also indicates that Apple is adopting flip-chip packing for the new front-facing camera, a process that will result in a thinner assembly and simplify lens production by moving the blue glass filter to the camera module itself. 

If aperture, focal length and ISO speed mean nothing to you, it’s time to pay attention to iDB’s iPhone Photography, a new article series created in co-operation with Justin Balog, the author of the critically acclaimed iBook titled Big World Little Lens – The Complete Guide to iPhone Photography.

Balog also blogs about iPhone photography so enlisting his talents ensures that our iPhone Photography series is tailored to everyday users.

As for these cameras, I was kinda holding my breath for a ten-megapixel back camera, though I must confess that my iPhone 4S’s eight-megapixel sensor captures some wonderful shots.

I’m more concerned about the front-facing camera.

As for the front-facing camera, with the next iPhone reportedly featuring high-speed 4G LTE networking and clues of FaceTime video calling over cellular networks, I think it’s high time for a FaceTime HD camera on the front.

Oh wait, the rumor-mill already called for it.


  • Arent all the new products thinner and have a better camera? It’s kinda dumb for that to be rumored.

    • Anonymous

      I’d like to say so, but the iPhone 4s front camera wasn’t an upgrade from the 4. And the 4s wasn’t any thinner.

      And take a look at the New iPad, its slightly thicker than the iPad 2.

      • The 4s had an 8 mp camera. The 4 had 5mp. They did upgrade that.

      • Reyn Yonashiro

        He said the front camera wasn’t upgraded, not the rear.

      • Anonymous

        Jared, did I say the New iPad wasn’t a good device? I love my iPad. But michael said,

        “Arent all new products thinner”

        And the New iPad was thicker, not that I care, but its the truth. He didn’t say:

        “Arent all new products thinner unless they have a ton of new features”

  • Anonymous

    Who needs a thinner camera. I don’t even care if the iPhone 5 is thicker than the 4S, as long as it has major improvements!

    • Falk M.

      You mean like a better battery that’s bigger?
      Oh you need room for that!

  • Rumor: iPhone 5 to be better than the 4S

    • Reyn Yonashiro

      It will also probably cost more!

      • I wouldn’t bet on that! Apple is not stupid. We have not seen a price increase ever, doubt they start now.

  • Anonymous

    if the quality and size of the sensor were to be improved you wouldn’t need to hold your breath for 10MP, as it stands squeezing 10MP onto a sensor that will no doubt be more or less the current size is a waste of time and only a marketing gimmick.

  • This seems costly, I think I have to save a lot from now on T.T Scumbag Apple, forcing me to save and buy their amazing stuff 😉

  • If all these rumors are true on launch day, this iPhone will be EPIC!

  • Wael Abdo

    Nice info. 😉

  • KewlDewd

    I’m always up for an improved camera, but I agree…the current one is pretty dang good for a phone camera.

    I can’t put too much stock in what this Kuo guys says though. “Larger aperture means more noises.” The opposite is true. The larger the aperture, the more light gets in, and the less sensitive the sensor has to be for any given exposure. The higher you crank the sensor sensitivity (ISO) the more noise you introduce. So a larger aperture allows you to shoot at lower ISO settings.

  • Dont bother buy iphone 5 .wait so long for new iphone and the improvement is just a few of them .better like samsung galaxy …all of the samsung phone impress me .but the model is still not as good as iphone….but the entertainment are good ….way to go samsung

    • Bobby

      LOLno. Samsung phones are unfinished, and cheap. (Plastic, bad cameras, and bad batteries… And Android.) I wonder what Samsung phones will look like now.. Since they have to redesign all of them now.