LG Innotek ramping up supply chain for 'iPhone 11' camera lens assembly

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 20
LG Innotek has reportedly started production of camera modules destined for use in the 2019 iPhone models, with the supplier believed to have been increasing its employee headcount since March in preparation for the high-volume manufacturing process.

iPhone rear camera


An existing supplier of camera modules to Apple, including both the rear cameras and the TrueDepth camera array for the front, LG Innotek is claimed to have started production on the versions used in the 2019 refresh. As Apple is expected to launch the new models in September and start shipping the smartphones shortly after, most likely sometime in October, the company is believed to be in full production this quarter.

Industry sources of ETNews claim the firm's Optical Solution Business Department hired a large number of workers in the second quarter, from 200 at the end of March to 880 by the end of June. As Apple is thought to be the biggest customer of LG Innotek, it is assumed the new employees are involved in camera module production.

The employment rise follows previous patterns by the firm for short-term workers, where in 2018 the employee count went from 612 in March until 1,275 at the end of June. As the number reached 3,396 by the end of September, it is likely LG Innotek will be taking on a lot more staff in the next month.

The timing seems to go along with other Apple suppliers increasing employee numbers ahead of full production runs. For example, assembly partner Foxconn started recruiting for more staff in July, as well as offering cash rewards to existing employees to stay with the company.

In 2018's third quarter, LG Innotek earned $1.91 billion in sales and $107 million in operating profit, making it the best third quarter performance in the company's history, and leading to record annual revenue of $6.59 billion. It is unknown how much of this is attributed to Apple, but a significant portion is likely to have stemmed from iPhone camera modules.

The 2019 iPhones are expected to have three cameras on the back instead of two, while the LCD-based follow-up to the iPhone XR will be upgraded from one camera to two. Current speculation suggests the third camera will have an ultra-wide lens, while the 2020 iPhones may gain a Time of Flight 3D sensor.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 4
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,907member
    I’d rather have fewer cameras, but better ones. With all the money Apple spends on R&D, I would have thought that they would be able to come up with something themselves, instead of relying on designs by others. New types of sensors, new types of optical glass and plastics are needed. Apple has patents for 90 degree cameras, but others are coming out with them. How about an optical zoom? There are technologies that allow for that already.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 4
    melgross said:
    I’d rather have fewer cameras, but better ones. With all the money Apple spends on R&D, I would have thought that they would be able to come up with something themselves, instead of relying on designs by others. New types of sensors, new types of optical glass and plastics are needed. Apple has patents for 90 degree cameras, but others are coming out with them. How about an optical zoom? There are technologies that allow for that already.
    They need parts at certain level of quality, then in price point to fit into standard margins and then in huge quantity as they have only few models in higher numbers. No other producer produce so many top phones. Ut takes time to secure some parts a prove them reliable.

    It does not say that Apple. is doing everything the best. You can not be best at everything forever. I think it is not natural.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 4
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,907member
    frantisek said:
    melgross said:
    I’d rather have fewer cameras, but better ones. With all the money Apple spends on R&D, I would have thought that they would be able to come up with something themselves, instead of relying on designs by others. New types of sensors, new types of optical glass and plastics are needed. Apple has patents for 90 degree cameras, but others are coming out with them. How about an optical zoom? There are technologies that allow for that already.
    They need parts at certain level of quality, then in price point to fit into standard margins and then in huge quantity as they have only few models in higher numbers. No other producer produce so many top phones. Ut takes time to secure some parts a prove them reliable.

    It does not say that Apple. is doing everything the best. You can not be best at everything forever. I think it is not natural.

    I know howxmanufacturing works. But when Google, and some others are judged to have better cameras, it’s enough. There’s no reason for that.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 4 of 4
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 4,212member
    Camera versatility where cameras on phones are at now. Quality is there for the overwhelming majority of users but if you can't get the shot, you are losing out - no matter how good the ones you do get are.

    So that means x5 optical zoom, wide angle lenses, periscope zoom, night modes (even moon modes), macro mode, AIIS, long exposure hand held options, larger sensors, more useful flash, ToF etc.

    In a way we have moved to a Jack of all trades situation but with great quality for the people who are - enjoying - taking photos and getting great results and less frustration.

    We'll see how far Apple moves in that direction but the rumoured tri-camera setup is where it should be in my book. Quad would be better but if this refresh really is going to be a minimal upgrade (something I still can't completely come to believe - there might be surprises) a tri-camera set-up would be a big step in the right direction on versatility.
    muthuk_vanalingam
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