At Apple’s request, Sony preps to double its supply of camera components for future iPhone

“Sony has entered negotiations with Apple to double its supply of camera components for a new iPhone slated to roll out as early as next year, taking another step in its pivot toward the mobile and imaging fields,” Nikkei reports. ” The Japanese firm already supplies nearly all of the CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) sensors for the current iPhone models’ rear-mounted main cameras. Apple is likely looking to switch to Sony sensors for the secondary camera on the screen side, used for taking self-portraits. The American smartphone maker apparently uses parts from suppliers in the U.S. and elsewhere for the front camera.”

“Sony does not disclose information about who buys its CMOS sensors, but it likely supplies Apple with more than 100 million units a year, with the bulk destined for iPhones. If the release of Apple’s new products goes well, this figure could double to more than 200 million units in a year or two,” Nikkei reports. “A request from Apple was the reason for its January decision to purchase a plant from Japanese chipmaker Renesas Electronics, according to a source involved in the negotiations. Sony plans to invest 35 billion yen in the facility to boost its monthly production capacity by 25%.”

“The company has announced plans to sell its computer business and spin off its TV segment. President and Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai pledged to bring the electronics business back into the black this fiscal year — a goal that has not yet been reached,” Nikkei reports. “Sony hopes to use the imaging and mobile businesses to revive the electronics business.”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. Cannibalizing to some degree for consumers but not pro’s of course. There are still real advantages with a dedicated device or in DSLR’s case a dual still/video device (also something heavier to lug around). The new Panasonic Lumix GH4 with 4K video will be pretty neat. 4K though will be a while catching on with consumers & providers. Years away getting those home sets cheap enough and everything in place. I’m actually still satisfied with HD. In a very short amount of time we’ve gone from NTSC to HD but technology seems to leap forward now compared to de olden days, whether we’re ready for it or not.

    2. Only in the point-and-shoot market. Prosumer and pro markets demand much, much greater flexibility. You are never, ever, going to get a 20x optical zoom, and 33Mp full-size sensor in a mobile phone, or the choice of interchangeable lenses with an Alpha-series body.
      Of course, the best camera to have is the one you have with you, and that’s often a cell-phone, so the better the lenses and sensors get, the more useful it can be.
      But only so far.

    1. I love the image quality of CMOS, and for still images, I don’t think there’s any better way to capture an image. I loved my D300, and I like my D7000 almost as much.

      At the same time, I wish there was a better way than rolling shutter to sample a CMOS sensor for moving images. Everywhere I look now, videos with moving objects look like a funhouse of horrors. Airplane propellers and helicopter rotors look like twisted impressionist flowers, and people, buses, trains, and light poles all bend like trees in the wind unless camera and subject motion are carefully controlled.

      We finally have cameras that can capture beautiful film-quality moving images, and they’re somewhat spoiled by an inability to actually capture the motion itself faithfully. It’s not usually a problem, but when it is, it’s really unattractive.

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