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iPhone camera lenses may not see significant hardware updates through at least 2022, according to a new research note by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo seen by MacRumors.

iphone12protriplelenscamera.jpg

Today's note focuses on a new price war between lens suppliers Largan and Genius Electronic Optical that will affect profitability for the suppliers, with Genius Electronic Optical at particular risk due to its high reliance on Apple combined with Largan's willingness to cut prices and Sunny Optical's upcoming entry into the high-end iPhone camera lens supply chain.
We predict that Largan will bargain the ASP of iPhone mid-to-high-end lenses by about 15-25% in 1H21 in order to increase its capacity utilization rate. Yujingguang's [Genius Electronic Optical's] order proportion, capacity utilization rate and gross profit margin will be directly affected. The impact of the price war will begin in January 2021, and Yujingguang's January revenue may only grow in single-digit YoY or even decline.
Kuo specifically predicts that there will be "no significant upgrade of the camera lens in 2022," indicating that challenges for Genius Electronic Optical could stretch for several years "unless the structural challenges of the lens industry are significantly improved or Yujingguang can significantly reduce its dependence on Apple orders."

Despite Kuo's prediction that there will not be significant hardware advancements for the camera lenses in iPhone models for 2021 and 2022, that doesn't necessarily mean there won't be improvements to overall camera performance. Apple also puts considerable effort into the software side of its camera capabilities, so we may still see new features and other tweaks due to improvements in both software and other elements of the camera hardware stack beyond the lenses.

Update: As noted by 9to5Mac, Kuo's comments may refer to only the main wide camera lens, as he has previously discussed upcoming updates for the ultrawide and telephoto lenses. Kuo's report is not entirely clear which lens or lenses he is referring to.

Article Link: Kuo: No Significant Upgrades to Main iPhone Camera Lens Through at Least 2022 [Updated]
 
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Internet Enzyme

macrumors 6502a
Feb 21, 2016
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Key word in the lede: just the “lenses” won’t see significant upgrades. However, the language of the rest of this article does seem to muddy this important distinction by mentioning that, apparently, the “camera hardware” as a whole will also go unchanged: I wonder if this is conflation, or if it’s really true that all of the phones’ respective sensors too won’t see upgrades in 2021. Now that would be disappointing.
 
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H3LL5P4WN

macrumors 68030
Jun 19, 2010
2,966
3,362
Pittsburgh PA
GREAT! this iPhone 12 Max was expensive. Tired of upgrades. Not much different from my iPhone 8 Plus. better camera. I'm happy where I'm at. 5G No Big deal.

Sorry dude. My 12 Pro Max destroys my 11 Pro... which crushed my XS... which crushed my X, which was better than the 8 at launch. So I know that it craps all over the 8.
 

TimFL1

macrumors 65816
Jul 6, 2017
1,225
1,308
Germany
Good. Let them focus on ANYTHING but cameras FOR ONCE. I‘m tired of the camera focus every single event. The new iPhones should be more than „another lense!“ or „better camera!!!11“.

Stopped caring about updates to the camera like a decade ago.
 

shapesinaframe

macrumors regular
Jan 14, 2020
211
262
Good. Let them focus on ANYTHING but cameras FOR ONCE. I‘m tired of the camera focus every single event. The new iPhones should be more than „another lense!“ or „better camera!!!11“.

Stopped caring about updates to the camera like a decade ago.
They’ll still focus on cameras. It just won’t have updated lenses for a while. There’s still sensors, software and connected imaging product ecosystems to enhance .... enhance ... enhance.
 

SubduedTiger

Cancelled
Mar 30, 2019
145
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San Francisco
Good. Let them focus on ANYTHING but cameras FOR ONCE. I‘m tired of the camera focus every single event. The new iPhones should be more than „another lense!“ or „better camera!!!11“.

Stopped caring about updates to the camera like a decade ago.
It’s only been 10 minutes since you posted, and it’s already an underrated comment.

Though I swore by the X, it made no financial sense for me to keep it when Visible.com let me upgrade to the 12 Pro Max with a $200 virtual gift card, free Beats Solo, and like $50 off the phone. With the value of my X (sold for $310) and by selling the Beats Solo Pro ($150), the phone cost me $500 in effect. And I can easily resell it for that come iPhone 13 time. In my mind, it was free.

Point behind this being that I wasn’t compelled by anything but money to upgrade, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a huge change from the X in feel. Ain’t just a camera at all. Battery, power, weight, and feel are more refined. Going back to the X felt like going back to the 4 when you had a 5. Way different.

I don’t actually even like the new front-facing camera (looks all fake and Snapchat puppydog-y, makes me look like a 3-year-old Harajuku girl with the brightness turned up 90%).
 
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jaworskimatt

macrumors 6502
Sep 3, 2019
324
479
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
What kind of pictures are you guys taking that you need camera upgrades?

(Similar to the question: What are you guys using the phone for that you need 5G?)

:D
Even upgrading from 10 XS Max to 12 Pro Max I can see an improvement across the board - but especially in low-light scenario. Not to mention, the wide lens is VERY useful (introduced in 11, I believe). Portrait mode is great, especially if one knows how to use apps like Focos to emulate real DSLR behavior.

5G can't hurt, as I use my laptop for work and once in a while do end up using the iPhone as a modem - I generally avoid using passwordless public WiFi, unless I have absolutely no choice (like airports).
 

SubduedTiger

Cancelled
Mar 30, 2019
145
176
San Francisco
Sorry dude. My 12 Pro Max destroys my 11 Pro... which crushed my XS... which crushed my X, which was better than the 8 at launch. So I know that it craps all over the 8.
Yeah, oddly was just writing what a difference the 12 Pro Max was before reading this. In store, it doesn’t seem drastically different but once you’ve used it for 2 days, going back to anything smaller feels like you’re trading a mug for a thimble.
 

Internet Enzyme

macrumors 6502a
Feb 21, 2016
988
1,704
What kind of pictures are you guys taking that you need camera upgrades?

(Similar to the question: What are you guys using the phone for that you need 5G?)

:D

Technology is all about progress: expanding humanity's horizons and opening up new possibilities that were hitherto undreamt of, if you will. Just because you can't envision the benefits doesn't mean that it's not a worthy pursuit. The iPhone cameras are good, but there are many inconsistencies between the different sensors and focal lengths: in particular, the ultrawide is noticeably noisy and terrible in low light, and the telephoto should probably be a more extreme telephoto made possible through a periscope lens design.
 

coolfactor

macrumors 603
Jul 29, 2002
5,164
5,575
Vancouver, BC
Good. Let them focus on ANYTHING but cameras FOR ONCE. I‘m tired of the camera focus every single event. The new iPhones should be more than „another lense!“ or „better camera!!!11“.

Stopped caring about updates to the camera like a decade ago.

When we venture out into the mountains or take a dog for a walk, capturing those moments is extremely important to us, and the improved photos from one generation to the next has made a world of difference in terms of the experience.

Not everyone needs a camera, but some people live through the lens, so it matters.
 

giebe

macrumors regular
Mar 20, 2014
130
108
Germany
They could at least change the wide angle camera. The quality difference to the normal lense is huge. I don’t even use the wide angle because it looks terrible
 
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ksec

macrumors 68000
Dec 23, 2015
1,839
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Interesting I was expecting more Zoom range. Looks like not coming soon.

Which begs the question, what is left for this year upgrade? 120hz OLED on the Pro, WiFi 6E. Some people suggest X60 modem although I seriously doubt that.

They already update the Camera Sensors last year. And they normally reuse those for at least 2 generations.
 

zakarhino

macrumors demi-god
Sep 13, 2014
1,383
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Berkeley
That's unfortunate; there were some rumors about Apple experimenting with a fourth camera sensor exclusively built for cine quality video capture and I was hoping that would be in the 2021 iPhone.
 
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mozumder

macrumors 65816
Mar 9, 2009
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3,405
Fully expect them to improve on the ultra-wide camera with optical or lens-shift stabilization
 

Anthony Narciso

macrumors newbie
Dec 10, 2019
16
13
Interesting I was expecting more Zoom range. Looks like not coming soon.

Which begs the question, what is left for this year upgrade? 120hz OLED on the Pro, WiFi 6E. Some people suggest X60 modem although I seriously doubt that.

They already update the Camera Sensors last year. And they normally reuse those for at least 2 generations.
Why the doubt about the X60?
 
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aesc80

Contributor
Mar 24, 2015
1,315
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The only improvements the current camera lens setup needs is way better anti-reflective coating. It’s hideous with even the smallest of light sources in the dark. Otherwise, the camera is great and doesn’t need anymore work.
 
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ian87w

macrumors 601
Feb 22, 2020
4,384
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Indonesia
Imo there's a limit on what they can do on the lenses that small. I mean there's a thing called physics. So imo moving forward, more improvements will be more towards the ISP.
 
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Darth Tulhu

Suspended
Apr 10, 2019
1,617
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Given that I'm not a Pro photographer, phone cameras reached I-don't-care levels of performance at least 5 years ago, if not more.

Photos and video are crisp and nice enough to capture my memories, which is what the cameras are for (on my devices). And given that I've been a parent for the last 23 years, low-light night shots were not important at all in my life.

Thankfully I got my iPhone 12 Pro issued from work, otherwise I would have been more than fine with an SE or Xr.
 
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