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If a new supply chain report is accurate, this year’s “iPhone 14” lineup could be getting the most significant front-facing camera improvements we’ve seen in years.
Even though the iPhone’s main camera systems have received some nice upgrades with each new model over the past few years, the front TrueDepth camera has remained identical since 2019; the iPhone 11 increased the resolution to 12MP, up from the 7MP of the iPhone X and iPhone XS, to introduce a wider field of view.
While the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups added some impressive software improvements, such as Night Mode, Deep Fusion, and HDR 4K video recording, the hardware remained unchanged.
So, it’s fair to say that the TrueDepth camera is overdue for an upgrade, and if the latest information from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is correct, that will arrive in this year’s iPhone 14 lineup.
According to Kuo, the front camera of all four new iPhone 14 models will move to a wider aperture and finally gain autofocus.
The wider f/1.9 aperture should offer better low-light capture over the f/2.2 aperture that’s been the norm since the 2014 iPhone 6.
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To put that in perspective, Apple moved to an f/1.8 aperture for the primary rear camera with the iPhone 7 in 2016, which was an upgrade from f/2.2 on the iPhone 6s. This got another boost when the iPhone 12 moved to an f/1.6 aperture. Meanwhile, Apple has used an f/2.4 aperture for the ultra-wide lens and an f/2.0 aperture for the telephoto lens on the “Pro” models since the iPhone 11 lineup.
This impact of a wider aperture will be significant enough. However, Apple is also reportedly planning to bring autofocus to the TrueDepth camera, making it the first time this feature has ever been available on the front camera.
We can also expect these improvements to come to both the standard “iPhone 14” models and the higher-end “iPhone 14 Pro” lineup. That’s not particularly surprising, as Apple has never differentiated the “Pro” models by the front camera hardware, but it’s still nice to hear.
There may still be some software-related advantages to the cameras on the Pro models, but these will be for the entire camera system, if history is any indication. For example, only the iPhone 13 Pro supports ProRes video recording, but that’s not specifically a front camera feature.
What’s most significant about these rumored hardware improvements is that the combination of the wider aperture and the autofocus capabilities will also result in more impressive Portrait Mode selfies — both for still photos and things like FaceTime calls.
Meanwhile, the primary camera on the iPhone 14 lineup is expected to jump to a 48MP sensor that will be designed to provide four times as much data to Apple’s Neural Engine for performing computational photography tasks.
However, it’s unclear if this better rear camera system will come to all four “iPhone 14” models or be reserved only for the higher-end “iPhone 14 Pro.” With last year’s iPhone 13 lineup, Apple differentiated the camera systems on the Pro models for the first time, giving them wider f/1.5 and f/1.8 apertures on the wide and ultra-wide cameras, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see this trend continue.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]