its photo sensor is no longer in doubt

On tour in Japan, Tim Cook talks about the special relationship between Apple and Sony. The photo sensors of the Japanese specialist should equip the next generation of iPhone.

Barring a last-minute surprise, Apple won’t make any new announcements this year. Not in the habit of a firm that has already updated a good portion of its catalog. Between semiconductor shortages, exploding costs and slow production, the cycle is complicated. Nevertheless, Apple remains strong enough to calmly wait out the end of the year. This period is important and should especially confirm the success of the iPhone 14 Pro, the locomotives of the series this year. The brand’s flagship product will undergo significant changes in the coming years, starting with the arrival of the USB-C port.

It’s only a matter of time before the iPhone itself replaces its Lightning connector with a connector that’s a universal standard in the European Union. Improvements are also expected for photography, and Apple knows it can count on its historic partner: Sony. The Japanese giant has long abandoned its personal ambitions (Xperia) to better fill the market with its optics. Important today, Sony supplies sensors to major manufacturers in the market and has long supplied Apple smartphones.

According to Tim Cook, the iPhone 6 already had a photo sensor and this collaboration should continue. While in Japan, the Cupertino boss took the opportunity to greet his partner, and this kind of attention is extremely rare in the Californian giant. Admittedly, Apple publishes a (more or less up-to-date) list of component suppliers, but it rarely highlights its various collaborations. “We’ve been working with Sony for more than a decade to create the world’s best camera sensors for iPhone. Thank you Ken and the whole team for showing me the state-of-the-art facility in Kumamoto today”– wrote Tim Cook on Twitter.

Towards a more efficient photo sensor for the iPhone 15 (Pro).

The message of Steve Jobs’ successor does not go unnoticed. This confirms that the relationship between the two companies will continue in the next series of iPhones. At the end of November, Nikkei Asia announced that Sony will provide Apple with a new photo sensor for the next iPhone.

A Japanese multinational company would develop a completely new sensor “capturing more light and reducing over or under exposure in some cases”. Specifically, this photosensor will help the iPhone take more effective photos against the light. Portraits will especially benefit from the work of the Japanese firm.

To get more technical, Sony is using a new architecture to house the photodiodes on the sensor. It splits the photodiodes and transistors into two separate layers to leave more room for the photodiodes. This approach will allow the photo module to capture more light and better control digital noise. Apple’s future flagship iPhone 15 Pro should be the first to benefit from this advance.

An important showcase for Apple, Sony

In the race for smartphones, Apple knows it can’t rest on its laurels. In the premium segment, the battle is on and the photo is often the element that makes the difference. Sony, the market leader in photo sensors for smartphones, must also improve its solutions to keep Samsung at a safe distance. Sony’s dominance is not under threat, but the Japanese giant’s market share has been declining in recent years. Sony controlled 44% of the global market in 2021, compared to 18.5% for Samsung, according to research by British firm Omdia published by Nikkei Asia. Therefore, a great leader, but the US sanctions on Huawei disrupted Sony’s plans.

In 2019, Sony hopes to capture 53% of the market, and the Japanese hope to capture 60% of the market by 2025. An ambitious project involving the development of new sensors.

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