John Gruber: Apple working on ‘the biggest camera jump ever’ for the next iPhone

iPhone 6 camera focus pixels

In the latest episode of The Talk Show, famed Apple pundit John Gruber mentions that he’s heard “from a birdie of a birdie” that Apple is working on the “biggest camera jump ever” for the next iPhone, as first noted by The Tech Block.

He’s heard little in terms of camera features aside from a brief mention of a “weird two-lens system” that should take the next iPhone’s camera into “DSLR quality imagery,” those are Gruber’s exact words.

Apple’s been using a five-element lens design for iPhone back cameras since the 2011 introduction of the iPhone 4s.

“The specific thing I heard is that next years camera might be the biggest camera jump ever,” he said on the show. “I don’t even know what sense this makes, but I’ve heard that it’s some kind of weird two-lens system where the back camera uses two lenses and it somehow takes it up into DSLR quality imagery.”

He didn’t mention anything in terms of the CMOS brand Apple might use. The iPhones and iPads traditionally use CMOS sensors for the rear camera supplied by Sony, with the latest models ditching OmniVision parts for the front-facing camera in favor of Sony.

Interestingly enough, the Japanese consumer electronics giant announced yesterday its next-generation smartphone camera sensor featuring a 21-megapixel Exmor RS IMX230 sensor that can shoot video in 4K resolutions using HDR image technology and fit inside a tiny 1/2.4-inch design.

iPhone 6 gray silver gold back camera

The sensor could easily make its way onto future iPhones and iPads.

It’s unclear whether Gruber was referring to Sony’s newly announced sensor. It’s entirely conceivable that the two-lens system Gruber briefly talked about would bring interchangeable lenses to the next iPhone.

Apple owns numerous patents related to mobile photography, including a high-resolution iPhone camera with optical zoom, a Lytro-like refocus able camera technology and another one detailing interchangeable iPhone camera lenses, pictured below.

That invention would allow for interchangeable camera lenses like those used in DSLRs and other mid-to-high-end cameras, thanks to a fastening mechanism that would use a series of small bayonet mounts located on both the phone and the lens.

Apple patent (interchangeable camera lens 001)

“Rotating the lens in one direction would align the bayonets on both ends, attaching the lens to the camera,” explains ArsTechnica. “Rotating it in the opposite direction would detach them.”

Gruber is clearly among people in the know. Not only is he privy to the inner workings of the California firm, his opinions and reactions to Apple news published at Daring Fireball, his personal blog, reverberate around the blogosphere.

[The Tech Block]