The iPhone 6 camera could take photos that are sharper and ultimately much better looking than the current iPhone thanks to a new image stabilization that takes multiple photos which software could combine to deliver a “super-resolution” photo that is better than the limitations of the hardware would normally offer.
This technology comes in the form of a patent, which makes it touch to predict when this new feature will arrive in an iPhone, but rumors suggest Apple is looking for a way to make an iPhone 6 with the same camera sensor size but better photo taking abilities. It’s also worth noting that sometimes Apple patents don’t actually lead to features in the next generation of iPhone.
A new document details Apple’s plans to deliver better looking iPhone photos, which comes as rumors suggest Apple is planning a minor sensor upgrade this year and will sit out of the megapixel race which sees the competition delivering 16MP cameras.
Apple is working on an iPhone 6 for 2014 according to many rumors, which suggest the company is planning two iPhones with larger screens. We could see a 4.7-inch iPhone and a 5.5-inch iPhone this year and the latest rumors suggest this will be a dramatically thinner smartphone between 6mm and 7mm thick. The current iPhone 5s is 7.6mm thick and includes a 4-inch display.
A continual iPhone 6 rumor is that Apple is not planning to boost the iPhone 6 camera sensor past 8MP. Instead we are hearing that Apple could use a larger pixel size on the sensor and image stabilization technology. By using electronic image stabilization instead of optical image stabilization Apple should be able to make a thinner iPhone 6.
At this point analysts believe Apple plans an iPhone 6 release date for the fall, with September as a very common month for the 4.7-inch model and later in the year for a 5.5-inch iPhone 6.
In this new report from Apple Insider we get a look at how Apple may use optical image stabilization to allow the iPhone 6 or a future iPhone to take multiple photos at a specific variation in order to combine them and create a “super-resolution” photo using optical image stabilization and burst mode in one.
In addition to requiring new technology this likely requires a good amount of processing power, which is something Apple boasted about for the iPhone 5s. The Apple A7 64-bit processor plays a role in firing the iPhone 5s dual-LED flash and in taking burst mode photos. If Apple is planning this technology for the iPhone 6, expect it to rely on an updated Apple A8 processor that is also rumored.
In this patent we see a dedicated photo processor. Apple introduced a co-processor with the A7 to track motion and it would make sense that this could rely on another processor for images.
This patent outlines the ability of an iPhone camera to essentially take photos that are of a higher resolution than the actual hardware. This would allow Apple to keep an 8MP iPhone 6 camera, but take higher resolution photos. In addition to boosting the resolution this could result in a sharper photos and videos. Image stabilization accounts for movement by the user and removes the effect of it from the photos and videos.
On the iPhone Apple currently implements a version of image stabilization by taking four photos and merging them to remove blurring. This patent relies on optical image stabilization, which is a hardware solution to taking better looking photos without the blur from shakiness. This may be a superior technology overall, but it would require hardware that could require the iPhone be thicker than one that only uses electronic image stabilization.
There are many iPhone 6 camera rumors for 2014 which focus on the camera. In a report from April, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo tells investors to expect an 8MP camera with the same Aperture as the iPhone 5s, but to expect optical image stabilization. Another report from January also includes optical image stabilization and an 8MP sensor. In March a report suggested that Apple is partnering with Invensense for Optical Image Stabilization parts on the iPhone 6.
Analyst Sun Chang Xu believes Apple will use a larger pixel size, but will go with electronic image stabilization in order to make the iPhone 6 thinner. Given the wide range of rumors there is still no clear iPhone 6 camera rumor to believe above all others.
There are many iPhone 6 dummy units floating around based on a leaked design. It is not clear if this new look with rounded edges and more metal is the official look of the 2014 iPhone, but if it is the circular flash is interesting as it is a departure from the pill shaped dual-LED flash on the iPhone 5s.
Demand for the iPhone 6 is the highest in years according to a recent survey, thanks to consumer interest in a new design and a larger screen.
iPhone 6 rumors started back in 2012, exploded in 2013 and as we move within six months of a rumored iPhone 6 release the rumors are starting to align and show a better picture of what consumers can expect from the most anticipated Apple product of 2014.
Two Models with Bigger Screens
iPhone 6 rumors, reports and analyst notes all point to an iPhone with a larger screen and many of the reports suggest Apple is planning to release two iPhone 6 models in 2014.
General consensus is Apple plans to offer an iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch display and a higher resolution than the iPhone 5s. That is a screen size jump of .7-inch and would put the iPhone in line with top Android phones like the HTC One M8 and the Galaxy S5. Rumors do not agree on a resolution for this display, but do expect that it will be higher than the 1136 x 640 resolution on the iPhone 5s.
Another iPhone 6 model with a 5.5-inch or 5.7-inch display is also rumored for 2014, but many sources agree that it will arrive after the 4.7-inch model. This screen would be closer in size to the Galaxy Note 3 and the rumored Galaxy Note 4. This concept above from Martin Hajek includes a curved display, but don't expect that on a new device.
Possible iPhone 6 Features & Specs
Rumors suggest Apple is planning a thinner iPhone 6 that will be between 6mm and 7mm thick, a drop form 7.6mm on the iPhone 5s. We could also see more metal in the design and a power button on the right hand side with new style volume buttons on the left.
Expect an Apple A8 processor that delivers a small speed boost, but also delivers better battery life thanks to a improved efficiency. Ming-Chi Kuo believes we will see 1GB of RAM and an 8MP camera that may include some type of image stabilization.
For more check out our iPhone 6 Rumor Roundup.