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Apple may adopt Sony’s state-of-the-art image sensor for iPhone 15: Report

Apple iPhone 15 may debut in September next yearPremium
Apple iPhone 15 may debut in September next year

  • According to a report by Nikkei, Sony Group will supply Apple with its latest image sensor. The component, the report says, is expected to feature in the next series of iPhones that will be launched in 2023.

Apple launched its 2022 iPhone series a few months ago and we are already hearing news about the next iPhone lineup. Likely to be called iPhone 15, the series is expected to come with Sony sensor for improved camera performance. According to a report by Nikkei, Sony Group will supply Apple with its latest state-of-the-art image sensor. The component, the report says, is expected to feature in the next series of iPhones that will be launched in 2023.

The new sensor is said to roughly double the saturation signal level in each pixel compared with the conventional sensors. This will allow the sensor to capture more light and reduce overexposure or underexposure in certain settings. This in turn will enable a smartphone camera to click clearer photographs even if the subject is standing against a strong backlight.

Sony is reportedly using a new semiconductor architecture which places photodiodes and transistors in separate substrate layers, allowing the sensor to add more photodiodes to the dedicated layer.

Sony Semiconductor Solutions will manufacture the new image sensor at its Nagasaki plant. The sensor will be shipped to Apple and other smartphone makers. The report says that incorporating the new image sensor into the iPhone 15 series will be crucial for Sony, as it will allow it to consolidate its competitive advantage in high-definition photography technology. Top rival Samsung Electronics has ramped up pressure on Sony, which already supplies image sensors to Apple, in this field.

"The landscape could change in one or two years," said an executive at a components manufacturer.

According to British analytics firm Omdia, Sony controlled a 44% global share in CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) image sensors in 2021 followed by Samsung in second place at 18.5%. In May this year, Sony said that it hopes to capture a 60% market share in CMOS image sensors by fiscal 2025, reiterating a target first announced in 2019, when the company held 53% of the market.

Meanwhile, Apple is reportedly planning to replace the clickable volume and power buttons with solid-state buttons on the iPhone 15 series models. The company may also remove lightning port in favour of USB Type-C.

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