While the rear camera in the iPhone continues to improve by leaps and bounds — and we can expect the iPhone 5S to continue that trend — the front FaceTime camera improves at a far more glacial pace. In an age of selfies, the iPhone 5’s front facing camera isn’t that much better at offering the sort of fidelity of resolution necessary to deeply inspect our blackheads and pores than the iPhone 4 was.
That’s probably about to change though. Omnivision — maker of the iPhone 5’s front-facing camera sensor — have just announced the OV2724, which crams a full 1080p sensor (or 2MP, compared to the current camera’s 1.2MP sensor) into a tiny cube small enough to go into the next iPhone. And it even shoots at 60 frames per second and offers some impressive dynamic range to boot.
It’s going into production this summer. With decent yields and some luck, that should make it ready for the iPhone 5S when it lands in fall.
This 4K OmniVision sensor could be in your next iPhone.
You sometimes here people talk about the iPhone 4S as if it’s a minor upgrade, but even if you’re not wooed by Siri, the camera on the iPhone 4S makes it worth a whole new phone in itself if you have even the most cursory interest in photography. The 8MP back-side illuminated sensor provided by Sony is a marvel — arguably the best camera sensor on a mobile phone outside of the crazy new Nokia PureView 808 — and a serious, serious upgrade over the 5MP OmniVision sensor found in the iPhone 4.
But don’t count OmniVision out for Cupertino’s iPhone 5 business. The Californian digital sensor maker have just announced a crazy 16MP back-side illuminated sensor that could theoretically put the iPhone 4S’s image quality to shame. Even better? Since they are capable of shooting video in 4K resolution at 30 frames per second, they’d take perfect images and videos for those rumored new Retina Macs we’ve all been hearing about.
The new iPad shares a camera sensor with the iPhone 4
We suspected as much, but the inquisitive engineers at Chipworks have confirmed that the camera inside the new iPad is indeed the same one found in the iPhone 4. The optics, as we already knew, come from the iPhone 4S’ camera.
Chipworks says that “It is very likely that Apple has recycled the 5MP back illuminated CMOS image sensor from the iPhone 4,” — the Omnivision OV5650.
You probably don’t give too much thought to all the parts that make up your shiny new iPhone 4S, but there’s a whole Apple economy built in.
For example: that sharp new 8-megapixel camera that is a key feature of the new device is causing a lot of headaches for a company called OmniVision Technologies Inc. — there are already two law firms looking into what happened when Omnivision realized that it couldn’t supply as promised the camera for the iPhone 4S.
Even when it debuted at the time, the iPad was conspicuous for its lack of forward-facing camera. Apple had obviously considered it: the iPad’s frame actually contains a hollow in which a standard iSight camera fits perfectly. Why didn’t they pull the trigger? Hindsight being 20/20, it’s pretty obvious now that Apple did not choose to install a camera in the first iPad because they hadn’t yet readied their FaceTime video chat standard: it would be stupid to supply hardware in the iPad that only Apple’s competitors were ready, at the time, to capitalize upon.
Now that FaceTime is out for the iPhone, iPod Touch and Mac, the iPad is obviously the next in line. Now a new report suggests that existing iPhone camera supplier Omnivision will also be tasked with creating the iPad’s camera.