Apple Will Improve the iPhone 6 Camera, but Not With More Megapixels

By Mike Schuster  MAR 21, 2014 1:15 PM

Insiders say that Apple will not try to match the high megapixel numbers of its competitors' smartphone cameras.

 


Now that iOS (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Android (NASDAQ:GOOG) devices have reached the point of almost limitless versatility, seasoned smartphone owners have cooled off on the prospect of more features and have instead clamored for the improved functionality of core specs: shorter load times, longer battery life, stronger cell reception, fewer dropped calls, etc.
 
But as if to justify the obsolescence of point-and-shoots as well as the refusal to purchase a pricey DSLR, many users have pleaded with manufacturers to improve the cameras found on smartphones. And although Apple's iPhone line has always offered cameras that are among the best in the market, a few competitors have been pushing the limits of what kind of photos are possible with a smartphone camera.
 
Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) Lumia 1020, which sports the Windows Phone (NASDAQ:MSFT) platform, had been lauded as having the best smartphone camera available -- a 41-megapixel behemoth. However, that title may soon be shifted to the recently unveiled Oppo Find 7, the very first souped-up smartphone capable of producing 50-megapixel photos.
 
Despite the megapixel horse race taking place among manufacturers, several industry insiders report that Apple won't be saddling up for the iPhone 6. According to AppleInsider, this year's iPhone will not possess notable megapixel numbers but rather feature other means of improving image quality.
 
Apple has taken this conservative route in the past, it should be noted, with much success. For the iPhone 5S, Apple increased the size of the rear-facing camera's pixels -- not the count -- to improve light-gathering capabilities by 33%. Additionally, a faster f/2.2 lens group allowed the iPhone 5S to produce sharper low-light photos.
 
While people familiar with the matter don't expect a huge jump in megapixel numbers, there still might be a slight bump to the megapixel number from the iPhone 5S, which stands at 8. It's not yet known whether that would entail a leap to the 13+ megapixel CMOS image sensors found on many non-Apple devices this year.
 
In the end, any photographer worth his or her telephoto lens knows a megapixel count isn't everything. Though the Lumia and Find 7 boast sharper photos, many of those 13-megapixel entrants still can't match the quality of those taken with the iPhone 5S' 8 megapixel camera. Apple manages to improve the iPhone camera with every iteration, and while it might be disappointing for many users to know they don't have the very best smartphone camera on the market, the iPhone's consistently reliable results will surely keep the upcoming model near the top of the photo junkie's heap.
 
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