The iPhone 14 Pro and the flagship iPhone 14 Pro Max, both coming as part of Apple’s handset lineup in 2022, have been predicted to provide major upgrades in the camera department.
- Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo details iPhone camera upgrades due in 2022.
- A 48-megapixel CMOS image sensor is coming to 2022 iPhones.
- The new sensor will take iPhone photography “to a new level.”
- Support for 8K video recording for the first time.
Taking iPhone photography to a new level
According to a research note by reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo with TF International Securities, seen by MacRumors, AppleInsider and 9to5Mac, Apple is making significant upgrades to the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max camera that will include these perks:
- The wide lens is getting upgraded to a 48-megapixel sensor
- Pixel size in 48-megapixel mode will increase to about 2.5um
- Support for 8K video recording
Let’s break down each prediction.
48MP sensor in iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max
In terms of image resolution, current iPhones max out at 12 megapixels.
Quadrupling resolution on the wide-angle rear camera (which Apple refers to as the wide-angle camera) will require more storage to save those shots. Thankfully, Apple’s adopted the HEIF format that requires far less storage per image than JPEG without discernible loss of quality.
If Apple indeed boosts resolution via a new 1/1.3″ 48-megapixel CMOS image sensor from twelve to 48 megapixels, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll end up with a 48-megapixel photograph after hitting the shutter button.
Like we saw with Samsung and other Android vendors, Apple’s scaling algorithm would downscale raw 48-megapixel data to twelve megapixels. The main benefit of this technique, known as four cell merge output mode, is increased image quality and less noise.
In fact, you’ll get support for both native 48-megapixel imaging mode and a 12-megapixel one. “We believe that the new 2022 iPhone may support direct 48-megapixel output and 12-megapixel (four cells merge output mode) output simultaneously,” Kuo says.
2.5um CIS pixel size
In terms of CIS pixel size, Kuo is expecting high-end models of the 2022 iPhone lineup to boost the pixel size of the main rear camera from the current iPhone 12’s 1.7um pixel size to 2.5um.
While CIS pixel size at the native 48-megapixel resolutions works out to about 1.25um, with 12-megapixel output pixel size increases to about 2.5um. Kuo notes that this would be “significantly larger” than the iPhone 12 (1.7um) and the upcoming iPhone 13 (2um). It’s also much “larger than existing Android phones and close to the DSC level.”
This is a very notable increase in pixel size that should yield crisper shots with far less noise, especially in low-light conditions (the bigger the camera pixel, the more light it can gather). The above upgrades and improvements led the analyst to predict that the camera quality of the 2022 iPhone will “elevate mobile phone camera photography to a new level.”
8K video recording with the iPhone 14 Pro Max
The iPhone 6s was Apple’s first model that brought 4K video recording. Apple has been steadily improving video recording features with subsequent models, but video resolution hasn’t changed despite some Android phones now offering 8K video capture, like Xiaomi’s Mi 11.
This, too, will change in 2022, with Kuo predicting support for 8K video recording across the entire lineup (no word on supported frame rates though). Shooting video in 8K will “enhance the augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) user experience.” Also, 8K videos and images should be far “more suitable for AR/MR devices.” As Bloomberg reported, Apple is working on multiple AR/MR devices, including an MR headset with two 8K OLED displays.
In the future, Kuo has it, 8K video recordings capture with the iPhone will “offer a better user experience.” when viewed on an 8K display or TV, but he wouldn’t elaborate on that.
The 2022 iPhone lineup
Even though Kuo is expecting Apple to discontinue the iPhone 12 mini size in 2022, the analyst is still calling for four distinct models in total come 2022: two 6.1-inch devices and two 6.7-inch ones, with one 6.1-inch model and one 6.7-inch model marketed under the “Pro” moniker.
Kuo’s prediction implies that we might be getting a whole new 6.7-inch non-Pro model next year in place of the iPhone mini size (aside from the flagship 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max).