Next year’s iPhone update might include the “biggest camera jump ever,” according to Daring Fireball’s John Gruber. The Cupertino company has introduced steady updates to its camera technology in the past, issuing incremental updates to the iPhone’s 8-megapixel sensor rather than fighting in the mobile megapixel war.
According to Gruber’s “birdie of a birdie,” Apple’s next phone will utilize a two-lens system, giving iPhone users “DSLR quality imagery.”
The specific thing I heard is that next year’s camera might be the biggest camera jump ever, Gruber said. “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 to DSLR quality imagery.
Gruber doesn’t expound much further on the rumor, though it does certainly sound similar to HTC’s famous Duo camera, which is found on the One (M8). That system combines a traditional sensor with a sensor dedicated to recording depth data, allowing users to focus after the fact while providing better low light performance. HTC’s implementation didn’t return the most amazing results, but with some fine-tuning, the system can definitely be improved.
Another possible approach could use technology introduced by Corephotonics, which uses a dual-lens module with two distinct focal lengths. This method could eliminate the poor quality associated with digital zoom, which has always look awful on phones. Corephotonics’s system would dynamically compare images taken from both sensors, and then choose the sharpest pixels for the best photo overall. Apple could employ a similar model to achieve high quality photos.
There are a lot of systems out there Apple could seriously be looking into. As it does every year, the company will need to find a way to entice customers to upgrade to its “S” devices, which will likely hit in September of next year. Although Apple doesn’t typically introduce substantial megapixel updates, a two-lens system could provide the technology necessary to create “DSLR quality imagery.”