iPhone XI Dummies Hint Apple’s Working on a ‘Night Sight’ Killer

Iphone Xi Night Sight1 Credit: Tom's Guide / Mac Otakara
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One of the most exciting (and controversial) rumors about the upcoming 2019 iPhone lineup is the addition of a triple-lens camera setup – but it could provide a major benefit that no one else is talking about.

It’s well documented that the aesthetics of the triple-lens camera bump are somewhat unfortunate, based on current renders and leaks. However, Apple is likely working to make the upcoming design less ugly. More importantly, a lot of the conversation has been focused on what the camera will look like — and not the benefits it could offer to iPhone users.

  • A triple-lens iPhone camera will likely boost the performance of optical zoom and overall picture quality.
  • It’s likely to introduce a much larger focal length with the addition of an ultra-wide-angle lens, too.
  • But it could also do away with one of the primary weaknesses of smartphone cameras: low-light performance.

That’s becoming a bit clearer as more leaks circulate the internet. Just this week, Japanese blog Mac Otakara bought a set of 3D-printed “iPhone XI” dummies from a marketplace in Asia. These dummies may just reveal a major but overlooked change in the next generation of iPhone.

Let’s take a look at the dummy iPhones compared to last year’s lineup. The triangular design is one thing, but the size of the camera setup’s sensors are also extremely interesting.

Of course, the renders don’t contain actual camera sensors — the white circles are just placeholder components. But if they are indeed genuine, they do suggest that Apple is allotting a lot more space on the rear of its devices for larger sensors. And the spaces set aside for those sensors appear to be fairly massive.

Larger sensors provide a number of benefits to cameras. In most cases, they usually mean higher resolution photos, increased dynamic range, and better background blur (otherwise known as bokeh). And yes, of course, they also mean improved low-light performance.

That last improvement may be especially important when you take a look at the current smartphone industry. Apple’s competitors, particularly the Google Pixel, have blazed a trail with low-light performance on smartphones.

Deceptive marketing aside, the Pixel’s Night Night mode is still capable of stunningly clear and well-lit photos in dark environments. And Google isn’t the only Android manufacturer implementing high-quality night modes, either.

It’s also important to note that Google’s Night Mode is mostly the result of A.I. and computational photography.

Apple could do a lot more with its own photographic software in addition to a physically larger suite of sensors. In other words, an Apple night mode on the 2019 iPhone lineup may just offer significantly improved performance over Google’s.

To be clear, these dummies aren’t necessarily indicative of what the final 2019 iPhone lineup will look like. But they are reportedly based on CAD renders leaked from within Apple’s Asia supply chain — and they do line up with most other iPhone XI rumors and leaks we’ve seen.

If the camera sensors do end up being that massive, it could hint that the 2019 iPhones may finally conquer the smartphone photography race yet again.

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