Despite countless guesses to the contrary, Apple will likely retain the all-plastic lens stack implemented in the iPhone X as a basis for its 2018 iPhone product line.
According to the ever-present Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities (via AppleInsider), he disagrees with market speculation that Apple plans to integrate a 7P (seven-lens plastic lens array) or a 2G3P (two glass, three plastic lens) hybrid design into iPhone’s rear-facing camera module in 2018.
Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple has struck a balance of quality and form factor with the current design and that adopting a newer lens (like a six element or hybrid system) would offer very limited improvements and complicate the supply chain unnecessarily.
“With its rear camera specs, iPhone X has managed to strike a phenomenal balance between picture quality and form factor design, in our opinion, given how far we’ve come today technologically,” he said. “Switching from a 6P lens to a 7P lens or a 2G3P hybrid lens, with camera module design largely similar to iPhone X’s, would make for only limited improvements in aperture performance, we believe.”
Additionally, Kuo is under the impression that if Apple were to use the 7P lens design on the 2018 iPhone lineup, it would result in unnecessary supply risk, which is something that plagued the iPhone X orders and the tech giant would not want history to repeat itself.
If Apple sticks with the 6P lens design on its 2018 iPhones, supplier Largan can expect slightly higher market share, although its leading market position will likely remain unchanged, says Kuo. The company commands the world’s largest lens capacity, while its prowess in design and assembly can be carried toward upgrades of future generations of 7P lens or hybrid lens.
The iPhone 7 Plus is the first smartphone to adopt the dual-lens design, which includes a wide angle and a telephoto lens, and the iPhone 8 Plus improved camera performance by utilizing a more advanced sensor module. The iPhone X camera basically uses the same design as the iPhone 8 Plus, with the exception of an additional optical image stabilization component for the telephoto lens.