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Insider reveals what Apple has in store for the iPhone 17 selfie cam

Published Jan 4th, 2024 7:43AM EST
iPhone 15 Plus Dynamic Island.
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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The iPhone 16 will bring a few big camera updates, at least for the Pro models. That’s according to Apple insider Ming-Chi Kuo. He detailed the 48-megapixel ultra-wide camera and tetraprism zoom lens coming to the iPhone 16 Pro and 16 Pro Max in a report focusing on the financial prospects of one of Apple’s suppliers, Genius. 

But if you’re looking for better selfie camera performance out of your next iPhone, you’ll have to wait until the iPhone 17 series that’s coming in 2025. The same report claims Apple is going for a 24-megapixel selfie cam upgrade next year. The new front-facing shooter should replace the 12-megapixel camera used in current models.

Kuo says that the iPhone 17’s big selfie camera upgrade will contribute “significantly” to Genius’ bottom line in the second half of 2025. That’s because the new 24-megapixel 6P lens will be 100% to 120% more expensive than the 12-megapixel 5P lens Apple currently uses: 

The front camera of the iPhone 17 will be upgraded to 24MP/6P lens (vs. the 12MP/5P lens of iPhone 15 & 16), which will significantly improve the image quality. Genius is the primary lens supplier for iPhone front cameras. As the unit price of the 6P lens is 100–120% higher than that of the 5P, it will contribute significantly to Genius’ revenue of more than NT$3 billion and profit in 2H25.

Upgrades to the selfie camera hardware don’t happen every year. Apple moved to a 12-megapixel sensor in 2019 with the iPhone 11 series. Before that, the company used a 7-megapixel camera on the iPhone 7, iPhone 8, and iPhone X versions. The 2015 iPhone 6s featured a 5-megapixel front-facing shooter. 

If Kuo’s report is accurate, the 2025 iPhone 17 series will deliver a massive upgrade. It’s not just about the megapixels here. The six-element lens should allow more light in, improve the image quality, and reduce distortions. It could lead to even better selfies in low-light environments. 

Examples of Dynamic Island animation on iPhone 14 Pro.
Examples of Dynamic Island animation on iPhone 14 Pro. Image source: Apple Inc.

The bigger picture

What’s also interesting to note is that the iPhone 17 should bring a big design change to the display. The Face ID components might finally be hidden under the display, at least for the iPhone 17 Pro models. If that happens, the iPhone’s Dynamic Island might be transformed into a circular hole-punch design, just Android flagship handsets. 

The design change should be an important talking point during the iPhone 17 announcement. Upgrading the selfie cam hardware would make sense in this context. 

I’ll also add another important iPhone design development that Apple is working on. The selfie camera should join the Face ID components under the screen in 2026. Therefore, upgrading the selfie camera hardware before that happens makes sense. The selfie camera would have to be able to collect as much light as possible through the OLED display layer that will sit on top of it.

And again, Apple sticks with similar selfie sensors for several years at a time. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple’s first under-the-screen iPhone camera will be a slightly modified 24-megapixel sensor that Apple can keep tweaking until it has to place it under the screen.

That’s all speculation, of course. But Kuo is usually accurate with his iPhone scoops. We’ll see if some of his Genius predictions in this report come true later this year when Apple unveils the iPhone 16 series.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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