Apple snaps up all available cameras for massive iPhone upgrade

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iPhone 7 camera
Even more powerful iPhone cameras are coming.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is consuming the entire production capacity of a new smartphone camera facility as it prepares to take the iPhone’s iSight sensor beyond 12 megapixels.

Largan Precision in central Taiwan is said to be the only manufacturer that meets the company’s minimum yield rate requirement, with its new Taichung factory designed to output around 600 million lens modules every single month.

Apple has been using 12-megapixel cameras, usually designed by Sony, since it introduced the iPhone 6s in 2015. To give us even greater pictures from the iPhone 7 series, it focused on significantly widening the aperture of its lenses to let in more light.

But for a future iPhone upgrade, we’ll get even more powerful sensors capable of shooting bigger images, according to Digitimes“Apple reportedly has booked up the production capacity for above 12-megapixel lens modules at a new factory being built by smartphone lens module maker Largan Precision.”

The new factory will open its doors in October, eventually reaching a monthly production capacity of 600 million lens modules. However, production will ramp up gradually, beginning with “small-volume” orders in the third quarter of this year before increasing in the fourth quarter.

This suggests Apple is planning to give us 16- or even 18-megapixel cameras for the iPhone, but it seems those sensors won’t be ready in time for this year’s big refresh — which is set to be unveiled next week. Apple could stick with 12-megapixel modules for iPhone 8.

It’s important to remember, however, that while megapixel count is important, it doesn’t define how good a camera is on its own. So much more goes into producing great photos and videos, like the quality of the lenses used, stabilization, and good software.