Optical Image Stabilization Reportedly Limited to 5.5-inch iPhone 6

If there is one area of photography that Apple’s iPhone cameras have lagged, it’s incorporating OIS (optical image stability). There have been rumors that the iPhone 6 would incorporate OIS. Shares of InvenSense, makers of Optical Image Stabilization for mobile phones, rose in early March buoyed by rumors they would be supplying hardware to Apple for this very purpose. Pacific Crest Securities analysts John Vinh and Kevin Chen are predicticting that Apple will use OIS in the larger, 5.5-inch iPhone 6.

Optical Image Stabilization

There are a number of reasons why Apple might go in this direction, as reported by MacRumors. For one, the cost of materials to include OIS camera technology is $4 to $5 over a traditional auto-focus camera. A second reason might be to help differentiate between the smaller 4-7-inch iPhone 6, also expected later this year.

There have been previous reports that Apple was considering EIC (electronic image stabilization). EIS effectively tries to function in the same way, but does using complex software algorithms. The advantage to EIS is that Apple would be able to reduce the overall weight and size of the lens component. This method tends to work well in areas where there is good lighting and the user is not using the zoom feature.

Optical image stabilization is a mechanism within a phone or tablet (or camera) that stabilizes the recorded image by varying the optical path to the sensor. The technology is implemented in the lens itself. Considering reports of an ultra-thin chassis on the iPhone 6, it could possibly result in a protruduing camera. This would be similar in design to the 5th generation iPod touch. Numerous mockups based on alleged leaked schematics show a design heavily influenced by the iPod touch design.

OIS has been available in a number of mobile phone cameras thus far. Most notable are the HTC One and LG G2. Though both have fared well in camera tests, the iPhone 5s still comes out on top, despite its lack of OIS.

Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst with a spotty track record, is also of the opinion that Apple will limit OIS to the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6. Kuo believes that limited supplies and a desire to differentiate the two models, are the reasons for the decision.