Apple is a few short weeks away from its fall iPhone event where it’ll announce at least two new smartphones, including the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus. Many reports have so far mentioned various details about the new handsets that are expected to offer buyers mild updates compared to last year’s iPhone 6. One particularly interesting upgrade concerns an upgrade to the iPhone 6s’s main camera that also offers additional hints about the iPhone 7’s main shooter.
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According to sources familiar with Apple’s plans who have spoken to Business Insider, the iPhone 6s will have a five-element 12-megapixel rear camera. The iPhone maker is ordering such components from suppliers, and the components are apparently already in mass-production and on schedule.
The current iPhone 6 has a five-element 8-megapixel lens. The more lenses a camera has, the better pictures and videos it can produce, as it’s able to absorb more light. The elements in a smartphone lens are made of high-quality plastic rather than glass, and they’re apparently very cheap to produce, with each lens costing $1.
However, Apple has planned an even bigger update for the 2016 iPhone’s camera. According to the same report, the iPhone 7 is set to receive an even more substantial upgrade when it comes to photo and video quality. The rear camera will have six elements rather than five. Six-element cameras are already in use (the Galaxy S5 and OnePlus 2 have such cameras), but Apple will only use them in iPhones next year at the earliest, assuming this new report is accurate.
Smartphone makers typically order six-element lenses, the report says, but Apple has never competed on hardware with its main rivals. The iPhone maker stuck with the 8-megapixel rear camera of the iPhone while consistently improving its performance. The iPhone is still the most popular phone camera on Flickr, a position it retained for years.