A report from Japanese business site Nikkei suggests that Apple and Sony are in negotiations that would double Sony’s shipments to Apple in 2015. This could mean that Sony will soon be providing both cameras on the iPhone.
Nikkei, via MacRumors:
The Japanese firm already supplies nearly all of the CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) sensors for the current iPhone models’ rear-mounted main cameras. Apple is likely looking to switch to Sony sensors for the secondary camera on the screen side, used for taking self-portraits.
Sony recently purchased a new manufacturing plant, and reports say the reason for the purchase is to add production capacity to comply with Apple’s requests for more sensors. The 35 billion yen facility will boost Sony’s monthly production capacity by 25%
Since the debut of the iPhone 4S, Sony has supplied Apple with the camera sensors for the device’s rear-facing camera, while OmniVision has supplied the front facing sensors.
Currently, the rear-facing shooter contains an eight megapixel sensor, while the front facing camera, used mostly for “selfies” and FaceTime calls, is just 1.2 megapixels.
While Apple has worked to improve the rear-facing camera with each new model of the iPhone, the front-facing shooter has remained lacking. The front-facing camera is almost certain to get a specs bump if Sony begins manufacturing those sensors for Apple.
MacRumors reports that given the timeline in the report, a Sony made front-facing camera sensor won’t make it into the iPhone 6, but will instead be included in a future model.