Sony, who make a fair amount of cash by selling their imaging sensors to other companies like Nikon, may just be the source of the iPhone 5′s photographic capabilities — and possibly a reason for its delay.
Seth Weintraub over at 9 to 5 Mac was at a talk where Mossberg interviewed Sony’s CEO, Sir Howard Stringer, who dropped this potentially revealing bombshell:
“Our best sensor technology is built in one of the (tsunami) affected factories. Those go to Apple for their iPhones…or iPads. Isn’t that something? They buy our best sensors from us?”
Currently, there’s a rumor floating about that the iPhone 5 might have a 8MP sensor from Sony, which would make some degree of sense.
Other reports quote Singer as saying that they wouldn’t give their best tech to Apple:
Early on, he raised the irony of Sony supplying camera components for Apple devices. It “always puzzles me,” he said. “Why would I make Apple the best camera?”
Which is odd, because Sony supplies their competitors in the camera world, much like many other electronics companies do. You’ll see Samsung LCDs in plenty of non-Samsung gadgets.
Even if this rumor is true, it’s not particularly good news. A bump to 8MP up from 5MP would lead to a minor gain in image resolution, which you would pay for through a noticeable drop in image quality. Currently, the iPhone 4 takes photos at 2592×1936. 8MP is around 3200×2500, which isn’t a lot bigger.