Apple may be shifting focus away from the iPhone’s main camera system in favor of better ultra-wide and telephoto lenses, according to a research note published by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
In his note, Kuo says that Apple is planning to “take its time” developing better camera hardware for upcoming iPhone models. He predicts no notable hardware improvements until at least 2022, with Apple focusing heavily on software advancements.
Kuo also says that a price war between suppliers Largan and Genius Electronic Optical is a factor in this decision. Largan is expected to take over fifteen-to-twenty-five percent of the orders in 2021 for mid-to-high-end lenses, taking a significant amount of orders away from Genius Electronic Optical.
“We predict that Largan will bargain the ASP of iPhone mid-to-high-end lenses by about 15-25% in 1H21 to increase its capacity utilization rate. Yujingguang’s [Genius Electronic Optical’s] order proportion, capacity utilization rate, and gross profit margin will be directly affected. The impact of the price war will begin in January 2021, and Yujingguang’s January revenue may only grow in single-digit YoY or even decline,” says Kuo.
In a report from 9to5Mac, Apple is planning on several improvements to the ultra-wide and telephoto lenses in the next two years, with the ultra-wide receiving three improvements this year: a wider lens aperture, increase in elements inside the lens, and the addition of auto-focus.
As always, take these rumors with a grain of salt. Nothing is confirmed until Apple unveils the next iPhone in September.