As we’re still several months away from Apple unveiling its next generation of iPhones, a report corroborates that the iPhone 14 Pro models will have another massive improvement in its cameras with a 48MP sensor.
A TrendForce report about camera module shipments corroborates that the iPhone 14 Pro models will have a new main sensor, switching from 12MP to 48MP.
A 48 million pixel primary camera is expected to be introduced to the iPhone 14 Pro series (tentative name) that Apple will release this year, further reducing 12 million pixel products to a 15% share in 2022.
This is not the first time a report expected Apple to upgrade its iPhone 14 camera sensors.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo already said twice in 2021 that the iPhone 14 Pro models will feature this upgraded sensor. He wrote in the spring that “the standard rear cameras on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will be upgraded to 48-megapixels, a 4x increase over the 12-megapixel sensor in iPhone 12.”
Kuo seems confident that the 48-megapixel spec is only destined for the more expensive Pro models […] Kuo does not also discuss details of the 2x zoom or ultra–wide lenses, suggesting the 48 megapixel upgrade is exclusive to the main wide camera.
Apart from that, we also expect Apple to unveil a brand new design for these models, with a different kind of notch, most likely a hole-punch or pill-shaped design.
Although Apple could be readying this jump in technology, we already noted that this doesn’t necessarily mean that the final output resolution will be 48MP: This may remain at 12MP. As we previously explained, this is because more is not always better where megapixels are concerned.
While more megapixels theoretically means more detail when you show photos at larger sizes, there is a huge downside to doing so on the same sized sensor. Cramming in more pixels into the same space means that each pixel has to be smaller, and that increases noise at low light levels.
When you think about how many of our most important photos are taken in relatively low light, that’s a big deal. Kids playing indoors, candlelit dinners, blowing out birthday cake candles, with friends in restaurants, sleeping babies – those are all examples of scenarios where you want the best quality low-light photos you can get.
Apple has consistently ignored the megapixel wars, and instead aimed for large pixels to provide the best possible low-light captures. Quality over quantity.
It seems a very likely bet that Apple will be using a technology known as “four cell merge output mode,” where the sensor has 48MP, but they are grouped together in clusters of four pixels, to generate a high-quality 12MP image.
The latest speculation is that Apple will support both 48MP and 12MP modes so that you could get 48MP images in well-lit conditions and 12MP images in lower light. This is easily achieved with this tech and gives the best of both worlds, so may well be the most likely bet. Samsung makes a 50MP camera sensor, which takes this approach.
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