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We haven’t even seen the iPhone 12 yet, but it seems that at least some leakers are already getting ahead of the game by looking to next year’s “iPhone 13,” offering up a few new details on what Apple’s next next-generation smartphone could look like.
We already have a pretty good idea of what the camera system on this year’s iPhone 12 will look like, thanks in part to Apple’s recently released iPad Pro, which built on last year’s iPhone 11 square camera bump design while adding in a LiDAR scanner where the iPhone 11 Pro gets a telephoto lens.
So there’s every reason to believe that the iPhone 12 Pro this year will also gain the new LiDAR scanner, adding it to the now familiar three-lens iPhone 11 Pro configuration. In fact, we’ve known for a while that a new LiDAR sensor was coming to the iPhone soon, so if anything it’s a surprise that it came to the iPad Pro first.
However, now the same leaker who most recently shared some schematic on the iPhone 12 camera layout is back to offer some insights on what’s next for Apple’s camera improvements in the 2021 iPhone lineup.
Four Cameras, Lots of Megapixels
An anonymous and occasional Apple leaker on Twitter, @choco_bit, who also recently shared predictions on Apple’s 2021 Lightning connector plans, has offered up some diagrams of an actual quad-camera layout — that is, four actual camera lenses, and not just the LiDAR scanner sitting in the fourth position.
In fact, according to the diagrams, the LiDAR scanner will exit the camera bump, taking up a spot just below, while a fourth camera will be added in the form of an anamorphic lens that provides an ultra-wide 2.1:1 aspect ratio.
While it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Apple would be planning a transition to four-camera system, the camera specs that @choco_bit offers are downright startling, considering how conservative Apple tends to be when it comes to pixel counts.
According to the information provided, Apple’s primary shooter will get a bump to a staggering 64 megapixels, while the new anamorphic lens, designed for cinema-style video capture, will join it. Meanwhile, the telephoto and ultra-wide angle lenses will get a bump to 40 megapixels.
If this all sounds too good to be true, that’s probably because it very well may be. Even the leaker adds that their information should be taken with a “Huuuuugggeeeee amount of 🧂” and emphasis the word “alleged,” suggesting that the sources may not be especially reliable.
While Apple’s Android competitors frequently pack in ultra high megapixel cameras in order to look good on spec sheets, Apple knows that it’s not about how many pixels you have, but how you actually use them, and the quality of the pictures that an iPhone can product thanks to good quality lenses and advanced computational photography has proven that megapixels aren’t everything. In fact, at only 12 megapixels, the iPhone’s cameras are among the lowest resolution in the industry.
That said, leaving the high pixel counts aside, there may be a germ of truth in here in terms of what form the fourth lens would take. While there’s an argument about how necessary a fourth camera is on any smartphone, Apple isn’t a company that traditionally puts “gimmick” technology into its devices, so if it adds a fourth lens, it’s going to serve a purpose.
An anamorphic lens for cinematographic work would be right up Apple’s alley, however, considering that it’s gradually been increasing its focus on the video capabilities of its iPhone models, adding features like 4K/60fps video and extended dynamic range, and even if it wasn’t taking iPhone videography seriously before, the recent global health pandemic has changed the game in a lot of interesting ways as Hollywood studios struggle to continue production scheduled while cast and crew are isolating in their homes.