Apple to Skip Pixel Race for iPhone 6


If you were expecting a major camera update from Apple this year, maybe you’ll have to wait, because the iPhone maker is said to be sitting out on the megapixel race. However, it will deliver an enhanced image sensor to make better images with the iPhone.

Iphone rear camera

Citing people familiar with the matter, AppleInsider reports that megapixels are less important for Apple now, as it is focusing on image-enhancing components. This doesn’t mean, though, that we can eliminate the thought of a minor camera upgrade, Mikey Campbell speculates.

With the iPhone 5s, Apple decided to enlarge the pixels’ size rather than increase the number of pixels. The competition, however, as KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo highlights, is in the race for 13 MP+ CMOS image sensors (CIS) for handsets.

However, it is worth mentioning that Sony, Apple’s CMOS image-sensor supplier, stands out with its BSI process, which “boasts better sensitivity and colour-saturation quality”, Kuo writes. Sony will lead the 13 MP CIS market as well, according to Kuo, which makes us wonder why Apple would skip this sort of camera upgrade.

And there are other signs that point to camera enhancements instead of increasing the number of pixels. Apple has won multiple camera patents lately, with one enhancing Lytro’s technology. Also, Ming-Chi Kuo’s report is in line with a previous report suggesting that Apple would adopt an 8 MP sensor with the iPhone 6.


  • thebruce0

    It’s not about megapixels. It’s about image quality! You can have a high-MP camera with crap quality that you’d need to shrink down to a smaller size to compete, anyway. And more MP means more space usage.
    8-10MP is really all you need for most any practical purpose. If you really want to print quality detailed poster-sized and larger photos, you should probably invest in an SLR 😛

  • Jake

    Yeah, image quality wins. The more pixels used, the more space that photo takes up… which becomes a big problem for a lot of people… especially your regular consumer.

  • I find the following statement very misleading:
    “If you were expecting a major camera update from Apple this year, maybe you’ll have to wait, because the iPhone maker is said to be sitting out on the megapixel race.”

    Major camera updates can be made without changing the megapixel count, in fact I would argue that simply increasing the megapixels is a lazy and much less useful upgrade than all of the other types of upgrades Apple has been making to the cameras in their phones. I would MUCH rather have a camera with less megapixels and better low-light capabilities. There is no good reason to push a cellphone camera past 8 megapixels.

    It’s dumb statements like this opening sentence that make the general public believe the opposite.

  • WatDah

    100% agree with you in every way. This is exactly the reason why/how people gets hyped up, only to be disappointed by themselves when something falls short of their own media-driven expectations, then points their fingers at Apple and say: “oh so disappointing I’m not buying one now”, “where’s the 20MP camera”, “what happened to the 5.7 inch screen”, “innovation my ass”.

    I have mentioned this so many times here in the past. But I understand it is their job to hype things up. So let’s just take it, like they ALWAYS say, “with a grain of salt”. =)

  • Yup. It’s like complaining that car companies aren’t making new models that have higher top speeds than their predecessors.

    Sure, top speed is an interesting factor in a car, but the fast majority of people are never going to actually use it, and you pay for that capability in gas mileage. Leave the massive, gas-guzzling engines in the high-end sportscars and I’ll buy something more fuel-efficient for everyday use, thank you.

  • There’s nothing worse than having a 15-20MP shooter on your smartphone sapping up precious free space.

  • Well I guess it depends on your definition of ‘major’. A major update to me means a brand new lens, megapixels, etc. Essentially a brand new unit to replace the existing camera unit.

    But if the existing camera hardware isn’t going to be new but rather tweaked…does that still count as a major update? Not to me. That sounds like an smaller update, which is what Istvan is trying to say.

  • Our job here is to keep you happy WatDah

  • The last upgrade (iPhone 5 to 5S) was a brand new unit. Brand new lens, brand new sensor, the sensor was even larger than its predecessor. They just chose to have the sensor output the same number of megapixels because they would get a better quality image that way. But I still heard people saying it was the same camera, because all they looked at was the megapixel number spec.

    Just because the megapixels might not change, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t overhauling the camera. That would be like saying if Apple decides not to increase the screen size for the iPhone 6, then it’s not going to be a major upgrade, even if they upgrade everything else about the phone.

  • …which, come to think of it, is something I could see people saying. *Sigh*

    Okay, different example. It would be like saying each time Apple has upgraded the iMacs, they haven’t been major upgrades because the screen size hasn’t changed.

  • WatDah

    Don’t get me wrong, you guys are great at what you guys do, and it’s just how this business works.

  • OliChabot

    I prefer high quality over high quantity, but give us at least a 10MP if not 12…