KGI: 2018 iPhone camera to carry over iPhone X plastic lens design

Posted:
in iPhone edited November 2017
Despite analyst guesses to the contrary, Apple will likely retain the all-plastic lens stack implemented in iPhone X as a basis for its 2018 iPhone product line, according to well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.




In a note to investors on Thursday, Kuo said he disagrees with market speculation that Apple plans to integrate a 7P (seven-lens plastic lens array) or a 2G3P (two glass, three plastic lens) hybrid design into iPhone's rear-facing camera module in 2018.

Currently, iPhone X, the company's most advanced camera platform, relies on a 6P lens design.

"With its rear camera specs, iPhone X has managed to strike a phenomenal balance between picture quality and form factor design, in our opinion, given how far we've come today technologically," Kuo writes. "Switching from a 6P lens to a 7P lens or a 2G3P hybrid lens, with camera module design largely similar to iPhone X's, would make for only limited improvements in aperture performance, we believe."

Further, a transition to new 7P or hybrid lens technology would place undue risk on 2018 iPhone supply. Kuo in previous notes said Apple intends to avoid making manufacturing decisions that could lead to a repeat of this year's supply-constrained iPhone X launch.

First debuted in iPhone 7 Plus, the unique dual-lens design -- one wide angle and one "telephoto" module -- has allowed Apple to enhance the platform's picture taking capabilities. The new iPhone 8 Plus improves on the initial design with an updated sensor module with deeper pixels.

The top-of-the-line iPhone X integrates a wide angle camera with an f/2.4 aperture, faster than the f/2.8 aperture found on the 8 Plus. For the first time, optical image stabilization is available for both wide angle and telephoto cameras, providing superior low-light performance across an expansive optical zoom range.

In our iPhone X review, we found the new handset's rear shooter to achieve noticeably brighter shots in dimly out scenes, while the OIS helped steady otherwise shaky video.

If Apple decides to stick with the 6P design, competitors of Apple supplier Largan will likely see slightly increased market share, Kuo says. The shift is not expected to greatly impact Largan's leading market position, as the company boasts the world's largest lens capacity, giving it pricing flexibility and leeway to innovate toward 7P and hybrid lens designs.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,692member
    What I would like to see next year is a tele sensor the same size as the wide angle sensor, as currently, the tele is noisier. But if Apple isn’t going to change anything, then that’s likely out. 

    But, there’s no telling that they haven’t been working on this since early this year, or even last year. I disagree with Kuo about the modest aperture improvement. Even if it’s just a third of a stop, it’s meaningful in terms of sensitivity,, and thus noise levels. If Apple could do it, I say, go for it.
    edited November 2017 repressthis
  • Reply 2 of 11
    Seriously. Why is it necessary to pump up Ming-Chi Kuo with such frequency? “Well connected?” Why hold back? Why not just go with “His Excellency?”

    Honestly, it’s just weird. Kuo gets these descriptors not just here, but on other sites as well. It makes one wonder if there’s some sort of behind the scenes contractural requirement to overtly try boost the guy’s reputation with laudatory modifiers every so often in order to get access to his information or something. For me, at least, it has the opposite effect. The sheer oddness of it makes me suspicious as to whether the compliments are deserved and whether Kuo is really that great an information source.
    emig647kingofsomewherehotboltsfan17Rayz2016racerhomie
  • Reply 3 of 11
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,409member
    Completely agree about Kuo. I don’t get why he is always the one. Frankly he’s one of the few that I just skip over. AI is one of the better sites that doesn’t post everything he does but it is still excessive.

    Most of his comments seem to have a relation with constraint which he has been wrong on a number of times. You’d think his track record would be enough to ignore him. Imo all he’s doing is stock manipulation. 
    kingofsomewherehot
  • Reply 4 of 11
    What would you write if you had no information to sell? “No update of some plastic parts”. Good. Any news about the pentalobe screws?
  • Reply 5 of 11
    I might speculate that the plastic lenses are lighter... allowing the image stabilization to work much better.

    I also agree with Melgross that even small improvements in the lenses will make for noticeable (for pro or hobbyist type photographers) improvements in pictures.
  • Reply 6 of 11
    I might speculate that the plastic lenses are lighter... allowing the image stabilization to work much better.
    That, and also the fact the glass at that size might be too brittle, creating huge production bottlenecks..
    edited November 2017
  • Reply 7 of 11
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,160member
    AppleZulu said:
    Seriously. Why is it necessary to pump up Ming-Chi Kuo with such frequency? “Well connected?” Why hold back? Why not just go with “His Excellency?”

    Honestly, it’s just weird. Kuo gets these descriptors not just here, but on other sites as well. It makes one wonder if there’s some sort of behind the scenes contractural requirement to overtly try boost the guy’s reputation with laudatory modifiers every so often in order to get access to his information or something. For me, at least, it has the opposite effect. The sheer oddness of it makes me suspicious as to whether the compliments are deserved and whether Kuo is really that great an information source.
    Personally, I think we should call him The Oracle. 
    racerhomie
  • Reply 8 of 11
    Actually wish Apple would add a third wide-angle lens/sensor that's panchromatic (B&W). In addition to improving depth perception, zapping the color filters would dramatically improve that camera's low-light sensitivity.
  • Reply 9 of 11
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,692member
    I might speculate that the plastic lenses are lighter... allowing the image stabilization to work much better.
    That, and also the fact the glass at that size might be too brittle, creating huge production bottlenecks..
    Microscope lenses have lens elements that are even smaller. It’s just that glass lenses cost more. And yes, it’s possible that the tiny amount of power the camera uses for stabilization may not be enough.
    edited November 2017
  • Reply 10 of 11
    Handwringing over specs. I love it. We have nothing better to do.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,692member
    Handwringing over specs. I love it. We have nothing better to do.
    True. But I’d love to see Apple make a real breakthrough in cameras. Right now, they’ve got great cameras for a smartphone, but so do a couple of others.
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