back to article Apple's iPhone 7 to come loaded with depth-sensing camera, supply chain spies claim

Reports coming out of Taiwan claim that the iPhone 7 will have dual rear-facing cameras. It's a move which would see Apple join the ranks of Dell, HTC, Huawei, and Samsung in adding depth-sensing technology to its mobes. A report in the Taiwanese Business Weekly claims Apple has been tinkering with dual-lens tech for three …

  1. Keef

    It's not all about the pixels...

    "It's rumoured that the main camera in the iPhone will be a disappointing 12 megapixels"

    I don't think that's disappointing, getting the optics right is arguably more important (within reason) than MP on any device, given it's a mobile phone I think 12 MP is more than adequate for a small sensor.

    I know there are clever ways to make use of a bigger pixel count, think Lumia 1020, but for most phone camera applications 12 MP is fine I think, not sure why El Reg thinks it disappointing?

    1. Tony W

      Re: It's not all about the pixels...

      100% right. MY Galaxy S5 has a 16 megapixel camera. So in bright sunlight the pictures are superb, as many have noted. But otherwise exposure times are pushed to the maximum, so camera shake smears fine detail over many pixels, making the high pixel count quite useless. It's taken a while but smart people have learned to ignore the pixel count and look at the pictures. In bright sunshine I often reach for the phone in preference to my quite good camera, otherwise I put the phone in my pocket and forget it as a picture taking device.

    2. bri

      Re: It's not all about the pixels...

      The magic in 808/1020 was really sensor size, not massive pixel count - the information that both had bigger then usual mobile-phone sensors was somehow lost in the noise. Actually, 1020 had far smaller sensor than 808 to fit optics into the body and its quality suffered for it, but it still managed to beat everything else into submission, when you had the patience and photographed static scene (it was woefully slow due to wholly inadequate CPU).

      That's also why they had to do such an enormous protruding optics - bigger sensor, bigger optics. The pixel count only means that reading and processing requires more energy (power and time).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's not all about the pixels...

      Indeed, I wouldn't call 12Mpixels disappointing… I still use a couple of cameras that tout 5Mpixel resolution. I've also got retardphones with 3Mpixel and 5Mpixel cameras.

      The standalone cameras beat the phones hands down because the optics are far better quality, and the image sensor is a lot larger, thus captures more light. I find the cameras much easier to control and hold steady than the phones, so you get a clearer image.

      I've also seen a 1Mpixel video camera outperform a 3Mpixel still camera in taking still images. There, it was the image processing of the Bayer filter that gives the image colour that won out. In the still camera, they were relying on what Kodak had developed, whereas with the video camera, they had to develop their own. So some decent R&D, and the little sub-100-person company churned out something better.

    4. Electron Shepherd

      Re: It's not all about the pixels...

      Indeed. A top of the line (£5,000 just for the body) Canon EOS-1D X, which is aimed at the professional market, has "only" 18MP.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's not all about the pixels...

      Because elReg are biased against fruity products and like to windup people who buy these products.

      You only have to read some of the so called journalism to see the trends.

      Envy probably ( and as I will no doubt be terminated, well so much for free speech, but a hundred down votes would make a great epitath)

      PS and they are very offensive towards the French, which is offensive to me.

  2. gerdesj Silver badge

    Two cams?

    To get a consensus you need three ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Two cams?

      Most of us do okay with two eyes…

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: Two cams?

        >Most of us do okay with two eyes…

        But for best results you really need all three.

      2. dave 93

        Re: Two cams?

        Two cams, spaced like eyes, would be great for VR content. It is the future, apparently.

        I'm surprised Apple hasn't done a Google Cardboard thing yet, but maybe there's an app for that...

  3. Shady
    Joke

    Some iTard....

    ... upon reading this, will take their shiny shiny with them in the swimming pool, to see how accurate the depth sensor actually is.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Despite the availability of a number of phones and tablets that already have dual cameras, you can be sure that if, come September, Apple does announce dual cameras in the iPhone, plenty of people will insist it's an Apple invention. "

    By the usual shrill apple haters at the Reg I assume?

    1. Shades
      FAIL

      Your response makes no sense. Why would the "usual shrill apple haters at the Reg" insist its an Apple invention? Own any Apple kit by any chance?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Just curious about the demographic - there appear to be a lot of msft/apple haters who put finger to keyboard, bypassing brain - you?

        1. Shades
          WTF?

          Demographic? That response to my response of your comment making no sense makes even less sense!

  5. Captain Queeg

    Handling....

    In terms of image quality there's probably not much point in going beyond today's resolutions.

    Is it just me or is the big downer on camera phones the handling. My iPhone 6 plus takes perfectly acceptable pictures, but for photography handling the slim oversize body makes using the camera a chore. I imagine I'd find the same with other premium handsets too.

    Whatever Apple might trumpet around pros using iPhones or iPads to do stellar work, I have a hunch the only ones who do are those commissioned by Apple to shoot video for them.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Handling....

      Product Design, like Engineering, is all about choosing which compromises to make. The camera on a phone is often a secondary function, whereas a smooth pocket-friendly shape is a priority for a 'carry all the time' device.

      Interestingly, one of the higher-end Nokia phones had a battery case sold as an ergonomic aid to the camera function. http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/mobile/accessory/pd-95g/

      1. cambsukguy

        Re: Handling....

        Which includes a tripod connection, nice, oversize camera button with focus on half-press and a battery to add to the phone one. And, of course, a lanyard point available on the phone body to make it less likely to be dropped.

        But, as was said, a bugger to put in the pocket, still easier than an SLR though.

  6. gnasher729 Silver badge

    Disappointed with the author

    Anyone saying "disappointing 12 Megapixels" demonstrates aptly that they don't have the slightest clue about cameras.

    What counts with a camera is the size of the sensors, the quality of the optics, and the quality of the image processing software. See what I didn't list: Megapixels. More megapixels without increasing the sensor size just means you have more noise and reduced quality in low light conditions. On the other hand, more megapixels gets you thumbs up from clueless writers. On the third hand, I never had the impression that Apple would do anything to impress the clueless.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Disappointed with the author

      "... I never had the impression that Apple would do anything to impress the clueless."

      Guessing you missed their Apple Watch product?

      1. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: Disappointed with the author

        It seems the Apple Watch didn't impress you. Just as I said, Apple doesn't things to impress the clueless.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Disappointed with the author

          "It seems the Apple Watch didn't impress you. Just as I said, Apple doesn't things to impress the clueless."

          Good luck with that. The one you bought is already killing your spelling. ;)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Disappointed with the author

      When the size of the pixels gets close to the wavelength of light, there's not much further you can go. This is a statistic that is very useful in evaluation how well a camera is likely to perform. It's also the one you rarely see quoted. If you know that the width of the red pixel element is little more than the wavelength of red light, it is easy to understand why noise and resolution are becoming problems.

  7. Justin Clift
    Boffin

    RealSense camera?

    Any hint as to whether the 2nd camera will be a standard camera, or something infrared like used in the recent Intel RealSense camera's?

    https://software.intel.com/en-us/realsense/home

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It will be an innovation if they can get it to work well

    I've seen reviews of the HTC with the depth sensing camera. It didn't seem to help much, if at all, and the effects that could be done with it were often sloppy.

    If Apple can use a 2nd camera to improve the picture taking experience and/or picture quality then it will indeed be an innovation, in the sense of something that nobody else has done before.

    1. Shades

      Re: It will be an innovation if they can get it to work well

      Obvious troll is obvious, 0/10. The HTC (depth) camera on the One M8 does exactly what it says on the tin and the 4MP main camera is one of the best that HTC have ever used, especially when it comes to low light situations.

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