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iPhone ambient light sensor could receive upgrade from new Apple supplier

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Allegedly unhappy with the current light sensor in the iPhone 4, Apple is said to be testing a new component supplier for future hardware.

Citing its industry sources in the Far East, DigiTimes reported Thursday that Capella Microsystems is in talks with Apple to become a component supplier. That would make it the first Taiwan-based integrated circuit manufacturer to land orders from the iPhone maker.

"Capella, which ships over one million ambient-light sensors to HTC a month currently, has reportedly delivered its products to Apple for verification as the ambient-light sensors currently used by the iPhone 4 have been criticized for some problems," the report said.

A deal is not said to be imminent, but Apple could place orders with Capella before the end of the year. Apple is expected to release its fifth-generation iPhone later than usual this year, with one report pegging its debut in the company's 2012 fiscal year, which begins at the end of September.

Capella is said to be one of two Taiwan-based integrated circuit suppliers that Apple is exploring potential opportunities with. The Cupertino, Calif., company is also reportedly in talks with Integrated Memory Logic.



Rumors have swirled in Taiwan that IML's programmable gamma buffers are likely to be utilized by Apple in its iPad touchscreen tablet. IML also maintains a headquarters in the U.S.
post #2 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Allegedly unhappy with the current light sensor in the iPhone 4, Apple is said to be testing a new component supplier for future hardware ...

i don't know if it's this sensor or if it's a software issue, but "auto-brightness" hasn't worked for me since iOS 3.x.

Previous to iOS/iPhone 4, I never adjusted the brightness at all, but less than a week after the upgrade I had to abandon it completely and have been manually adjusting the brightness (four or five times a day at least! ), ever since. It's a real drag. Especially since it worked perfectly before.
post #3 of 17
The problem with the ambient light sensor and many similar sensors in other electronics is that they measure the ambient light from the front of the device which is obscured by screen brightness. The sensor needs to be on the back of the device in order to work effectively.

Also, something akin to Flux for Mac would be awesome for iPhone.
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Go Banana View Post

The sensor needs to be on the back of the device in order to work effectively.

And the problem with that is; Your hand is on the back of the device.
Shall we compromise and put it on TOP....?
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Go Banana View Post

The problem with the ambient light sensor and many similar sensors in other electronics is that they measure the ambient light from the front of the device which is obscured by screen brightness. The sensor needs to be on the back of the device in order to work effectively.

Also, something akin to Flux for Mac would be awesome for iPhone.

The problem with a rear sensor is keeping it unobstructed. Placing the phone on a desktop would cause a rear sensor to fail. There is also the potential for covering the sensor with your hand while holding the phone. If a rear sensor were added, the front sensor would need to be maintained.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Applecation View Post

The problem with a rear sensor is keeping it unobstructed. Placing the phone on a desktop would cause a rear sensor to fail. There is also the potential for covering the sensor with your hand while holding the phone. If a rear sensor were added, the front sensor would need to be maintained.

Given the relative cheapness of the sensors, I don't know why they don't put twenty of them on the phone (in all different locations), and then intelligently determine the ambient light conditions by comparing all the readings on an ongoing basis.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

i don't know if it's this sensor or if it's a software issue, but "auto-brightness" hasn't worked for me since iOS 3.x.

Previous to iOS/iPhone 4, I never adjusted the brightness at all, but less than a week after the upgrade I had to abandon it completely and have been manually adjusting the brightness (four or five times a day at least! ), ever since. It's a real drag. Especially since it worked perfectly before.

I also keep my iPhone on manual brightness. I really wish Apple would provide a brightness control in the Multitasking bar, like it does for iPad. I have written this request to Apple, for whatever that is worth.
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Given the relative cheapness of the sensors, I don't know why they don't put twenty of them on the phone (in all different locations), and then intelligently determine the ambient light conditions by comparing all the readings on an ongoing basis.

That would make for some interesting case designs!
post #9 of 17
Why don't they just use the camera to detect the light from the back of the device and the sensor from the front? Is that possible? When I got my IPhone 3G, I thought that's how it was measured.
I do agree when I got my iPhone 4, it only sometimes changed the brightness
post #10 of 17
Which company(ies) make(s) the problematic ambient light sensor?
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Applecation View Post

I also keep my iPhone on manual brightness. I really wish Apple would provide a brightness control in the Multitasking bar, like it does for iPad. I have written this request to Apple, for whatever that is worth.

Putting it on the multitasking bar would be good, but I have to adjust the brightness manually on my iPad even more than on the phone because often you are looking at a white page and the effect of being too dim or too bright is much more noticeable.

So I'm pretty freaking tired of double-tapping the home button and swiping left on the iPad for brightness as well.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Applecation View Post

That would make for some interesting case designs!

Oh yeah, I never thought of the users with cases.

Why do people use cases?
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by commun5 View Post

Which company(ies) make(s) the problematic ambient light sensor?

All, some, none.

There is a range of companies who manufacture such components. Is a component from Vendor 1 good enough for Customer A, but not good enough for Customer B who has higher standards?

Do you eat McDonald's hamburgers, or will you only eat organic grass-fed beef burgers at independently owned restaurants?

Apple prototypes many different designs using sample components from a wide variety of suppliers. There are many factors which influence the final decision: availability, cost, size, performance, etc. The best performing component might not be the smallest nor cheapest, or might be in short supply.

Apple clearly is not content to rest on their laurels and stay with the status quo; they spend a lot of money in R&D to improve their products.
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Oh yeah, I never thought of the users with cases.

Why do people use cases?

Multiple reasons.

Some people are rougher on their phones. Some people want something grippier. Some people pick colorful/patterned cases for style/fashion. Some people...

Get it?
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

Multiple reasons.

Some people are rougher on their phones. Some people want something grippier. Some people pick colorful/patterned cases for style/fashion. Some people...

Get it?

Some people need a drop proof, water resistant device.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Oh yeah, I never thought of the users with cases.

Why do people use cases?

I was tempted to say "Well, there are a number of use cases..."

But I won't
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Oh yeah, I never thought of the users with cases.

Why do people use cases?

For me, I just find that the phone is too slippery, too easily dropped.
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