Apple plans to build better iPhone cameras with new research center in France

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in iPhone
A new Apple research center in the town of Grenoble, France, will apparently focus on improving imaging technology, likely for better cameras in future iPhones and other devices from the company, according to a new report.




Apple is said to have already established a team in the area, but will be expanding its presence at a new 800-square-meter facility that will employ about 30 people, according to ledauphine.com, a French-language publication, as first discovered by local blog iPhon.fr.

Thursday's report claimed that the new research and development facility will focus on image sensors for both the iPhone and iPad, which frequently share camera-related parts. The performance of the iPhone's camera, in particular, has become a key selling point for Apple, as evidenced by the company's ongoing Shot on iPhone ad campaign that runs on TV, in print, on billboards and more.

Apple is said to have picked the site in Grenoble due to an ongoing partnership with STMicroelectronics, which has production sites in the area. STMicroelectronics supplies a number of components for Apple devices, most notably gyroscopes that detect movement in devices like the iPhone, iPad and Apple Pencil.

Apple's latest phones, including the iPhone 6s series, rely on gyroscope and M-series motion coprocessor data to compensate for factors like hand shaking when capturing photos and video. On the iPhone 6s, this is accomplished through software-assisted stabilization, while the larger iPhone 6s Plus has the added benefit of hardware-based optical image stabilization. Gyroscopes in iPhones are also used to stitch together panoramic pictures.

Camera technology is expected to be a major focus for Apple's forthcoming "iPhone 7," as leaked parts suggest the 4.7-inch model will feature a noticeably larger camera opening, while the 5.5-inch "Plus" model is expected to boast dual lenses for vastly improved picture quality.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    irelandireland Posts: 17,793member
    I honestly though their camera research was done.
  • Reply 2 of 27
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,822member
    ireland said:
    I honestly though their camera research was done.
    Research is never done.
    nolamacguypscooter63
  • Reply 3 of 27
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,822member
    There was a camera phone before there was an iPhone, so it's not surprising that the camera is an incredibly important feature/component.

    and there is still a tremendous amount of room for progress in phone photography. I'm glad apple is making this a priority.
  • Reply 4 of 27
    irelandireland Posts: 17,793member
    blastdoor said:
    ireland said:
    I honestly though their camera research was done.
    Research is never done.
    Neither is sarcasm.
    monstrosityJanNL
  • Reply 5 of 27
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    They could improve the existing cameras right now with an iOS update that lets users disable the horrifically over-the-top noise reduction algorithms that destroy hair and other fine details on medium to low light exposures... 
    hypoluxa
  • Reply 6 of 27
    hypoluxahypoluxa Posts: 680member
    dysamoria said:
    They could improve the existing cameras right now with an iOS update that lets users disable the horrifically over-the-top noise reduction algorithms that destroy hair and other fine details on medium to low light exposures... 
    Ah yes...I have took notice of this as well. Good catch. I'm sure they will, it just takes time.
  • Reply 7 of 27
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,036member
    It is all about better Optics and honestly the French aren't known for optics, that is the German and Japanese expertise. But really how much high tech has been known to originate in France.
  • Reply 8 of 27
    trillottrillot Posts: 19member
    maestro64 said:
    It is all about better Optics and honestly the French aren't known for optics, that is the German and Japanese expertise. But really how much high tech has been known to originate in France.
    Sensors are not optic
    ai46cnocbuibaconstang
  • Reply 9 of 27
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,036member
    trillot said:
    maestro64 said:
    It is all about better Optics and honestly the French aren't known for optics, that is the German and Japanese expertise. But really how much high tech has been known to originate in France.
    Sensors are not optic

    Your correct, but without better optics it does not matter how much better you make the sensors, sensor is like film of yesteryears nothing has changed you still need good optics to get best picture.
  • Reply 10 of 27
    VisualSeedVisualSeed Posts: 217member
    maestro64 said:
    It is all about better Optics and honestly the French aren't known for optics, that is the German and Japanese expertise. But really how much high tech has been known to originate in France.
    This is very near Geneva (Switzerland). This area of France and all of Switzerland is well known for their high end imaging industry. AGFA has a huge medical imaging research facility just a few kilometers from here. On the consumer side, Canon and Nikon have also invested heavily in building research centers in France. 
    pbrstreetgiqatedoloquiturbaconstangnolamacguypatchythepiratetrillotjony0
  • Reply 11 of 27
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,454member
    maestro64 said:
    It is all about better Optics and honestly the French aren't known for optics, that is the German and Japanese expertise. But really how much high tech has been known to originate in France.
    It really isn't about what they're going to find in France to help them. Rather this is an excellent move for investing the foreign dollars they cannot bring home under the current US tax law. And France is a desirable country to live where they can use the location as an incentive to relocate talent. 
    baconstang
  • Reply 12 of 27
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    mac_128 said:
    maestro64 said:
    It is all about better Optics and honestly the French aren't known for optics, that is the German and Japanese expertise. But really how much high tech has been known to originate in France.
    France is a desirable country to live... 
    I'm not so sure after the tragedy that occurred tonight. 
    edited July 2016 tallest skil
  • Reply 13 of 27
    stubbstubb Posts: 16member
    Would be fun if Apple bought DxO and brought their amazing image-processing team onboard.
  • Reply 14 of 27
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    By the way, RIP to the people of Nice, France today. Terrible attack on their people.
    tallest skildasanman69baconstangpropod
  • Reply 15 of 27
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    ireland said:
    I honestly though their camera research was done.
    Seriously?   Research is never done!   I think somebody already said that but it is a basic fact.
  • Reply 16 of 27
    pbrstreetgpbrstreetg Posts: 184member
    maestro64 said:
    trillot said:
    Sensors are not optic

    Your correct, but without better optics it does not matter how much better you make the sensors, sensor is like film of yesteryears nothing has changed you still need good optics to get best picture.
    There's like thirty to forty companies working on advancing sensor technology along with the usual suspects like Sony, Aptina, Fuji and Canon. Sensor tech has changed a lot and will continue to do so, beyond consumer cameras and phones, sensors have applications in surveillance, security and defense applications.
    nolamacguy
  • Reply 17 of 27
    lukefrenchlukefrench Posts: 102member
    maestro64 said:
    It is all about better Optics and honestly the French aren't known for optics, that is the German and Japanese expertise. But really how much high tech has been known to originate in France.
    That is not NASA's opinion. 

    They used Angenieux optics on the Gemini and Apollo missions (mounted on Leicas and Hassebalds), and they still use them today.
    http://ai.onscreenasia.com/2015/03/thales-angenieux-aboard-nasas-dawn-mission/
    Those were never mass products, but are wildly known for very low distorsion at big apertures, and much better quality than the Zeiss (Leica) equivalents.

    More to the point, there is already a lot of research activity in optics going on at Grenoble, because there is a joint venture between Minalogic and ORA which are 2 research non-profits, funding about a third of 2 Md € in optic and mini-electronics.
    http://www.minalogic.com/en/minalogic/about-minalogic-0
    nolamacguypatchythepiratestubb
  • Reply 18 of 27
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    maestro64 said:

    Your correct, but without better optics it does not matter how much better you make the sensors, sensor is like film of yesteryears nothing has changed you still need good optics to get best picture.
    There's like thirty to forty companies working on advancing sensor technology along with the usual suspects like Sony, Aptina, Fuji and Canon. Sensor tech has changed a lot and will continue to do so, beyond consumer cameras and phones, sensors have applications in surveillance, security and defense applications.
    Sensor tech has seeing minimal advances over the last several years.  I have noticed people in another forum complain about new cameras having the same sensors, or ones with almost no meaningful improvements, being released and they see little point in them.

    Panasonic and Fuji have been working on an organic sensor which might deliver 18 stops of dynamic range, but that looks to being close to a decade away.  I will be surprised if a tiny outfit in France, or anywhere else, will get a jump on them or Sony.
  • Reply 19 of 27
    pbrstreetgpbrstreetg Posts: 184member
    cnocbui said:
    There's like thirty to forty companies working on advancing sensor technology along with the usual suspects like Sony, Aptina, Fuji and Canon. Sensor tech has changed a lot and will continue to do so, beyond consumer cameras and phones, sensors have applications in surveillance, security and defense applications.
    Sensor tech has seeing minimal advances over the last several years.  I have noticed people in another forum complain about new cameras having the same sensors, or ones with almost no meaningful improvements, being released and they see little point in them.

    Panasonic and Fuji have been working on an organic sensor which might deliver 18 stops of dynamic range, but that looks to being close to a decade away.  I will be surprised if a tiny outfit in France, or anywhere else, will get a jump on them or Sony.
    How do you account for the jumps from 720p, 1080p, 2K, and 4K for video? It's not from algorithms, gyros or glass. Sensor tech is exactly why Sony is mentioned alongside Canon and Nikon, they don't have better glass, or software; their camera hardware is nice though.

  • Reply 20 of 27
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    cnocbui said:
    Sensor tech has seeing minimal advances over the last several years.  I have noticed people in another forum complain about new cameras having the same sensors, or ones with almost no meaningful improvements, being released and they see little point in them.

    Panasonic and Fuji have been working on an organic sensor which might deliver 18 stops of dynamic range, but that looks to being close to a decade away.  I will be surprised if a tiny outfit in France, or anywhere else, will get a jump on them or Sony.
    How do you account for the jumps from 720p, 1080p, 2K, and 4K for video? It's not from algorithms, gyros or glass. Sensor tech is exactly why Sony is mentioned alongside Canon and Nikon, they don't have better glass, or software; their camera hardware is nice though.

    4K  is largely due to sensor topology, read-out rates from the sensor and increased bandwidth and processing of that data via codecs.  It's not due to any great advance in sensor imaging performance, in terms of dynamic range, noise etc. 4k needs only 8 MP. The others are also video formats which have been around for quite some time.  Looks like I need to repeat myself - "the last several years".  Sensors have also reached the end of Moor's law, as have most IC based devices because of physics.

    I still use lenses made 30+ years ago with my stills camera.  Advances in optics are not going to lead to great advances with cameras in phones, that is mostly the province of sensors.  Samsung did use a faster lens to increase the low-light performance of the S7 camera, but the tech used to do that is decades old.  Going for larger, lower noise pixels and including phase-detection for autofocus on the sensor were the main contributors to the improved performance, again, neither of which involved any new tech.

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