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The next iPhone could have a much better camera

May 18, 2015, 11:46 PM UTC
Apple Unveils iPhone 6
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Apple CEO Tim Cook shows off the new iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple is expected to unveil the new iPhone 6 and wearble tech. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Photograph by Justin Sullivan — Getty Images

Apple’s next iPhone may come with the most powerful camera the smartphone has had yet.

The presumed upgrade to the iPhone will likely feature a 12-megapixel camera, up from the 8 megapixels it’s had since the iPhone 4S debuted in 2011, according to IHS China analyst Kevin Wong.

Megapixels are a measure of the detail a camera can capture — the more the better, usually. The number of them in the iPhone’s camera has been unchanged in recent years.

But the size of a megapixel also matters (a larger megapixel filters more light, which means better image resolution). Apple has increased their size starting with the iPhone 5S, which has improved the quality of images its camera takes.

Samsung, on the other hand, has upgraded its Galaxy S smartphones to 16 megapixels starting with the Galaxy S5 in April 2014.

Over the years, Apple (AAPL) has upgraded the iPhone’s camera, including the video recording and autofocus. In the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple added optical image stabilization helps to offset the problem of people who have shaky hands when snapping photos.

Wong, who published his predictions on Chinese social network Sina Weibo, believes the next iPhone will have more megapixels, but that they will be smaller in size. If so, it raises questions about how much better the new camera will really be.

Both respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo KGI Securities and Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, an established Apple blogger, have also made similar predictions about Apple’s next iPhone. Kuo also recently said that the next iPhone will likely have a technology known as “Force Touch,” which gives the illusion of a pressure-sensitive screen.

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