Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo speculated in a research note with TF International Securities that Apple will incorporate a 48MP camera into the upcoming iPhone 14, and the 2023 iPhone will feature a periscope lens.
Taiwanese manufacturer Largan Precision's shares, revenue, and profit could be positively affected by the addition of these new lenses to the iPhone in the coming years, according to Kuo. A periscope lens could appear on the 2023 iPhone, allowing for significant optical zoom. Periscope lenses have the advantage of being able to fold into a form factor that is suitable for smartphones, offering high optical zoom.
In his statement, Kuo did not expand on his previous comments, but he did state that the 48MP camera will only be seen on the iPhone 14 Pro model and that it will be capable of recording 8K video. A mixed reality headset from Apple that will be released in 2022 will also be able to view 8K footage, according to him.
Some rumors claim the 48-megapixel camera on the iPhone 14 Pro will be able to capture 48MP images in optimal lighting conditions but will only be able to produce 12MP photos in low light. This will be possible thanks to a technology called pixel binning, which has already been incorporated into several Android phones.
The advent of pixel binning has sped up smartphone camera technology since the sensor size on a smartphone is limited, and merely increasing the megapixel number will make each pixel smaller. When a high resolution is applied to a tiny smartphone sensor that captures fewer light rays than a conventional camera, picture quality in low light suffers. When pixels from groups of pixels are binned, a reduced resolution image can be created that retains the details while still being lower than the resolution of the sensor.
By increasing the signal-to-noise ratio, it reduces the noise in each pixel of the final image. An iPhone 14 Pro with a 48MP sensor could still benefit from a 12MP pixel-binned output, as the image would take up less space and still provide sufficient detail even in average lighting conditions.
Considering Apple would be late to the party if it adds periscope lenses in 2023, it is worth noting that the feature would not be practical. Huawei P40 Pro+ and other flagship Android smartphones already have periscope lenses capable of high optical zoom. The optical zoom preserves image clarity, sharpness, and resolution, as opposed to digital zoom.
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