Friday, December 1, 2023

Apple might finally up the ante with 48MP cameras on iPhones next year


Apple is finally ready to enter the megapixel war for smartphone cameras, and it all begins as early as next year with the iPhone 14 series. As per a research note from TFI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors), who maintains a solid track record with Apple-related predictions, the iPhone 14 Pro will come armed with a 48-megapixel primary camera.

So far, Apple has relied on its trusty 12-megapixel sensors on iPhones. And even as the company graduated from a single camera to the dual-camera setup, and eventually to the triple camera array, its love affair with 12-megapixel sensors continued. Take, for example, the iPhone 13 Pro, which deploys a 12-megapixel sensor for the primary, ultra-wide, and telephoto cameras.

But the massive jump from 12-megapixel to 48-megapixel cameras is not the only imaging upgrade that Apple has in the pipeline for the iPhone 14 Pro duo. Kuo mentions that the 48-megapixel snapper on the iPhone 14 Pro and its Max sibling will also be able to capture 8K HDR videos. For comparison, the 12-megapixel shooter on the iPhone 13 Pro duo can only do 4K HDR video, with some Dolby Vision magic at up to 60fps frame rate.

With bigger cameras come even better tricks

Kuo also predicts that the iPhone 14 Pro pair will offer a dedicated 48MP mode to capture photos in all their pixel-dense glory using the new sensor. However, it is quite likely that the camera will output 12-megapixel photos by default, performing 4-in-1 pixel binning. In short, the sensor will combine four adjacent pixels into one larger super-pixel that can collect more light information to deliver brighter and more well-balanced shots. Plus, the 12-megapixel photos will be less taxing on the internal storage than a huge dump of 48-megapixel vacation shots.

Of course, Apple is far behind the competition. Rivals like Samsung have already reaped the benefits of 108-megapixel camera sensors on the likes of Galaxy S21 Ultra, and 2022 will see the debut of phones rocking a massive 200-megapixel camera. But as the saying goes, higher megapixels don’t always mean better results. Apple has proved that year after year.

Despite packing 12-megapixel cameras, the iPhone 13 Pro duo is among the best out there at still photography and eats the competition when it comes to video capture. Given Apple’s track record, an upgrade to 48-megapixel cameras is likely going to bring a huge leap in the imaging output of iPhones. Just don’t be surprised if Apple slaps a handsome price tag on the iPhone 14 Pro when it debuts next year.

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