When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone 4 in 2010, Apple began focusing heavily on the device’s camera as an area for continuous improvement and promotion. That device featured a 5 MP backside camera, and the next three models (iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s) featured an 8 MP iSight camera with various improvements along the way.

That pixel count may not change according to a report from The China Post (via MacRumors) which cites financial group Nomura Securities and falling shares of Largen Precision Company.

According to Nomura Securities (野村證券), Largan’s recently lagging performance in the market is caused by rumors that Apple may adopt an 8 mega-pixel (MP) camera with improved optical image stabilization on its upcoming handset, instead of the 16 MP upgrade anticipated by industry observers.

While the report leaves room to speculate a minor bump in pixel count could see the light of day, it’s not too farfetched to believe Apple’s successor to the iPhone 5s could resist increasing pixel count in favor of further improving optical performance with low light and high dynamic range capturing…

If Apple follows pattern and redesigns the next generation iPhone as expected (iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, iPhone 5, iPhone 6), saving spec sheet increases like pixel counts could be reserved for an iPhone 6s device with the same design but internal improvements.

And while we’re knee deep in the weeds with speculation, let us know what you think. How long can Apple resist increasing the megapixel rating on its iSight camera before it starts looking outdated? How many more tricks like burst mode and slow-mo could Apple have up its sleeve before it decides megapixel count needs increasing?

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55 Responses to “Report suggests iPhone 6 could once again retain 8 MP camera, focus on improved optics”

  1. ycreatives says:

    If it’s not in gold, I’m not interested!

  2. matt byers says:

    One of the problems with increasing the megapixel count is space…Apple would also need to consider making the 32 GB phone the base model phone instead of 16 GB, IMO. I think it is long overdue on the iPad. With the move to higher resolution displays and better faster processors the storage has not changed. Many apps are now 500 MB – 1 GB.

    • Zac Hall says:

      I completely agree. Not to mention device “thinness” as the iPod touch with a 5 MP camera is so thin the camera bulges out.

    • Hilarious, I was just saying the exact same thing the other day. 16GB is a joke and 32GB is barely any better. When 16GB meets no ones needs, it is no longer a choice, it’s just an annoyance! Seems like every release since the iPhone 4, I can remember going to the store an hearing, “Sorry we are out of 32s but we have 16s….”

      While they are at it, 5GB of iCloud storage is another point that annoys the crap outta me! Like many of us I bet, I’ve bought over $2000 of portable devices from Apple inside the last 2 yrs. and all I can get is 5GBs of free cloud space to share between 3 devices????

      If I have to hear about another stock buyback or option while they continue to ignore their user base….. It just may end up being the proverbial straw that breaks the camels back!

      It needs to just WORK!

      • I agree with this bit as well. For the first 6 phones, the 16GB served my needs but with the 5S was released, I bought a 32Gb iPhone for the first time(I’ve bought the 32Gb iPads from the beginning). As an avid photographer, megapixel count doesn’t mean much (this has been proven time and time again by Canon (T3i, EOS M, and 6D in my arsenal). But I would prefer to see Apple increase the spec bump a little to at least 12 while improving camera optics. The software and optics on the current 5S are pretty amazing considering what they have to work with, but Apple should step up the game a bit with it.

  3. thebums66 says:

    I believe as Apple does. More does not mean better. I held my iPhone 5s next to a S4 looking at the same area in the room (did the same test outside) and the color representation and clarity of the image was much better on the iPhone (yes I cleaned both lenses). We zoomed in to view the (roughly) same image size and the iPhone was still better. We took a picture of the same thing and zoomed in to see and again the iPhone was much sharper and represented the color much better. Yes the S4 could zoom in further but that only made the image blurier – it didn’t even look pixelated just blurry. I think we all want to hear a bigger number, but try it for youself and see the difference. Then there won’t be any doubt – images look different on different monitors but holding the two phones side by side in your hand is the ultimate test. On the other hand, if Apple did increase pixel count and or screen size, you know they would do a much better job than the other companies trying to increase specs for specs sake.

  4. Very believable. There’s still much room to improve image quality, especially in low light or in moving pictures. 8 MP is high, I don’t see the use of higher MP count because you just don’t need that many. On a HDTV, you can’t use all those pixels. Same for a tablet. Maybe for 4K TV is where you’ll need higher MP count. On paper/cardboard, (who still uses paper?) 8 MP is enough for the average consumer.

  5. I want a much improved camera..don’t really care how apple does this..

  6. Steve Grenier says:

    I’m still having a hard time getting used to the rear camera being called an “iSight camera”.

  7. Am I the only one that just wants a bigger battery size and better battery life?

    Similar sized phones (although not as thin) like the S4 mini, One mini, Z1 compact all have 1800mah+

    Surely this is the year apple gets something like 2000mah in the new iphone with a 4.3-4.5″ screen.

    I wouldn’t want 4.7-5″ screen it would make the phone to big in size and would probably mean apple does away with the home button (not likely)

  8. Seriously, more MP don’t result in better picture quality. It’s rather the opposite. And who prints his iPhone images larger than 15×10″? I definitely prefer a speedy camera with a good low light performance and low noise levels over some more Pixels that don’t have any value for me.
    If you ask me: Apple is doing the right thing here.

    • jlword says:

      Nokia PureView Cameras. OIS. 6 element Ziess lens system. 1/1.5 (lafest on a smartphone) sensor size. F/2.2 aperture. Xenon Flash. Led Flash RAW- Digital Negative(.dng)(Nokia/Windows Phone the ONLY company/smartphones with RAW support) LED flash. 41 Megapixel BSI sensor. Oversampling technology to process large amounts of data, creating a 5megapixel image with each megapixel comprised of up to (7) megapixels creating highly detailed images. Even Nokia in their white paper for the 1020 acknowledges that its not about the pixels bit a combination of great hardware and software.
      JLTechWord.WordPress com
      http://www.timesdigit.com/2013/07/Nokia-releases-whitepaper-on-Nokia-Lumia-1020-new-hardware-and-software-camera-innovations.html?m=1

      • You are right, the concept and the resulting images of the Nokia 1020 are quite good. But, in my opinion, it is too much of a compromise in two ways: The overall thickness of the device – more than 30% thicker than current generation iPhones, and the relatively slow operation of the camera. Although, the latter could be resolved with better cpu/gpu performance, I think the whole package does only appeal to many consumers.

  9. Jonny says:

    How long can Apple resist increasing the megapixel rating on its iSight camera before it starts looking outdated?

    They can resist until their latest model phone is not at the top of – or amongst – the best camera phones out there. If DP or other reviews start saying the photos the iPhone takes are not up-to-par with the other top-tier handsets than they’ll have to do something. I buy into the Apple approach of not focusing on the specs (with the reason being that “normals” aren’t interested). Do the photos the iPhone takes look great compared to the other phones? Yes. As long as the answer continues to be yes, the megapixels won’t matter.

  10. Your analysis about them keeping it for the 6S makes total sense, and I expect them to do the same too. History has shown that S devices are more interesting hardware-wise and last longer (or for tablets, even numbers do)

  11. Apple just acquired that company that does 30 full resolution pictures per second… think about it. 4K recording in your pocket?
    it would be possible to pull off, but maybe I’m just dreaming… Apple usually waits a bit more to adapt (USB 3?) but sometimes they like to jump the gun faster than others as well (thunderbolt2?)
    either way, I’m pretty sure the most used camera on flickr (is it still 5? or is it 5s now?) will see much improvements!

  12. Just… Make the sensor bigger and make it at least 10MP. With things like 4K becoming more and more main stream, this would be the right move. The same MP count for 4 years is a joke. Apple really needs to get into the game.

    • PMZanetti says:

      The same MP count for 4 years is a joke? What does that even mean? As if time is supposed to naturally increase Megapixels? What?

      I’d have to say, your contribution is little more than a joke.

  13. Optical stabilization like other phones have, would make for better videos and pictures. As for pixel count even 8 megapixels is overkill to post pics on the web and for video. Would be better to increase the sensor size, when it comes to picture quality, quality optics and sensor size is where is at.
    Also the iPhone5 is thin and light enough. Larger battery life please, even if it comes at the expense of size and weight would be the most welcome feature. Such a pain in the butt to manage charging…

  14. hmurchison says:

    It’s the 21st Century and still people do not understand the relationship between Sensor size, megapixels and optics. An 8 MP picture with a decent sized sensor and optics can blow a picture up to poster size and still look good.

    It’s unbelievable that people are “still” selling bigger numbers.

    • Zac Hall says:

      Apple certainly isn’t :) I just wonder if the market will pressure them to, or if there’s any benefit to eventually upping the megapixel count in the future.

    • jlword says:

      The general population may not understand the relationship between sensor size, megapixels and optics but Nokia, who produces leading camera phone technology on smartphones certainly does. The produced the Nokia Lumia 1020 with a 1/1.5 sensor size one of the latest if the largest found on a smartphone. True optical image stabilization balancing a 6 element Ziess optics lens system via tiny motors and springs. Of course the 41 megapixel BSI which via the great optics and OIS is able to collect an astounding among of data which is then processed very oversampling software creating one 30+ megapixel image and a 5megapixel image of which each of the individual megapixels is comprised of up to 7 megapixels apiece – creating a highly detailed image. Nokia does it right with great hardware optics, great software for processing the data, a great user interface allowing for easy Auto settings and more in depth manual settings and a host of software, editing tools such a remove moving objects, change faces, motion blur, action shot, best picture, Nokia Cinemagraph(create gifs), Nokia Refocus(focus on different objects after photo taken) and more make for a great photography experience coupled with popular apps like Instagram and a more feature rich(even more features than official iOS and Android versions) third party Instagram client 6 tag. And to cap it all off RAW image support(.dng – Digital Negative) exclusive to only two smartphones on the planet – the Nokia Lumia 1020 and the Nokia Lumia 1520. All this on top of a superb smartphone makes the Nokia Lumia 1020, as well as other Lumia phones popular for thier low light prowess like the 925, 928, 920. Say what you will of Nokia and Windows Phone, the photography experience can’t be beat. And the OSs consistent growth in the market( kantar reports) show that Windows Phone is gaining global market shares while Apple is consistently losing share.

      http://www.itproportal.com/2014/01/07/android-and-windows-phone-make-market-share-gains-rivals/

      Android and Windows Phone make market share gains on rivals

      Read more: http://www.itproportal.com/2014/01/07/android-and-windows-phone-make-market-share-gains-rivals/#ixzz2pvuAdCP5

      iPhone Sees Ongoing Yearly Marketshare Decline As Apple Battles “Resurgent” Rivals, Says Kantar
      http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/11/05/apple-kantar-windows-italy/

  15. 8MP are more than enough anyway….

  16. PMZanetti says:

    With the lack of Optical Zoom…I’d like to see MP count increase to 12, so that a photo can be zoomed and cropped after the fact, without compromising so much quality.

  17. This will be the worst mistake of APPLE, competition is huge and all have phones with better cameras, resolution and quality. If you do this will lose more market participation. Just as the screen size should extend at least 5 inches.

  18. Jim Phong says:

    Apple should add a plenoptic camera which would allow for many new features apps wise.
    And the base model should be a 64GB. It’s time that Apple moves to 64GB, 128GB, 256GB models.
    With an expensive 512GB SSD option like the 128GB iPad Air and iPad Mini 2 now.

  19. I’m sick and tired of these incremental “improvements”. I want something truly revolutionary for the 6:

    wider and longer than the 5s, thinner too
    shock + water + scratch proof
    1TB of space (and why not 2TB) + 2TB of icloud space
    a 4K+ screen
    16MP + improved image (not one or the other)
    a computer OS, not a phone OS, with the ability to store / move files, like on my mac’s Finder
    possibility to add audio files received by email or yousendit (or similar services) to the itunes library
    codec that plays Hi-Rez audio files (at least 192/48)
    halfway decent speakers
    built-in Wolfson DAC
    1 week battery life in intensive usage conditions
    tethering possibilities for use as a ultra high speed internet hotspot

    etc…

    If not, might as well trod on with my 3S

  20. The iPhone 5 and 5S have outstanding camera capabilities with the stock camera app. But I’ve found the app ProCamera7 vastly improves even that photo quality, including the digital zoom. I do some professional photography and made frequent use of my 5 and now my 5S. Those photos can be quality up to 12×16 inches and even beyond. And that’s with the 8 mp lens. I agree with many in this discussion who say 8 is adequate. Also, if there are more megapixels and the sensor isn’t larger, quality suffers. It would be in Apple’s best interest to clean up the low-light issues and improved optics as best possible.

  21. Anyone who looks in to photography and the real contributions of pixels alone to quality photos learns very fast that it’s a mug’s game.
    I am delighted that Apple may be abandoning this pixel race and going to optics and sensor issues. Absolutely delighted. The iPhone already has the best camera out there and we can look forward to that continuing.

    • jlword says:

      Hi:
      High Pixels and great optics are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Nokia has implemented achieved the industry leader position with smartphone camera technology, especially as manifest in the Nokia Lumia 1020. The innovative accomplishment was is so outstanding that the Lumia 1020 was the was honored in the 2014 CES Innovations Design and Engineering Awards in the Digital Imaging product category. The accomplishment is further recognized when one notes that ALL other devices named in that category are dedicated cameras. The 1020 due to Nokia’s innovations with optics and sensor(1/1.5″-largest on smartphone) was the only smartphone recognized in this category.
      So as many commentators lament that pixels don’t matter, focus on optics. A combination of the strengths of both yield great and admirable results.
      JLTechword.wordpress.com

  22. sardonick says:

    8mp is plenty. Focus on app quality, optics quality, and performance.

  23. Pretty sure the first iPhone had only a 2MP camera. At least that’s the camera that Jobs presented at the keynote.

    No debate that the iPhone has become the most popular mobile camera on the planet. Who remembers the Flip?! That was supposed to be the second coming of capturing images but because of the iPhone it died a pretty quick death.

  24. bxstrmn says:

    There really isn’t much more I think the camera can do as a feature except to add another camera on the back. So 1 camera in each corner for the purpose of the 3D shots. While this may seem somewhat as a gimmick, it does open up a lot of possibilities. The 3d like effect in iOS 7 can really add more depth. 3D scanning apps can get huge, and of course all kidding aside the porn industry would probably jump on it.

  25. aniru919 says:

    I think that Apple would increase the megapixel count on the iPhone because to me, 8MP is already looking pretty outdated as Apple’s competitors have much higher megapixel counts on their smartphones.

  26. drtyrell969 says:

    I’ll make sure and take a picture of it with my 13 MP Galaxy Note 3.

  27. greenbelt2csp says:

    4k TVs have 8.3 megapixels. I think Apple is on to something here…

    Also, don’t fool yourself into thinking 16MP is twice the resolution of 8MP, it’s not. Do the math. An 8k TV is ~33MP.

    My old Canon SLR has 12MP and literally slays cameras with higher MP counts all day long. It’s the quality of the light, not the number of pixels.

  28. 8 MP is more than enough (maybe even too much). Apple should focus on other areas (optics quality, image noise etc.). Adding more pixel would only degradate image quality due to electronic noise and increase image size (without adding anything to its quality or detail).

    • viktormadarasz says:

      Saw Your post before making mine…. Indeed I agree totally

      • jlword says:

        Nokia’s approach – great optics AND high megapixels. Result – leader in smartphone imaging and photography tech. Its so good that Nokia Lumia 1020 won CES Innovations Awards 2014 Under Digital Imaging Category. Note all of the other honorees were dedicated cameras. The Lumia 1020 was the only smartphone named in that category.
        Lumia 1020 beats iphone 5s with zooming in detail because the great optics ensure great reception of light and large 41 megapixel sensor ensures a broad reception of “data” – which gives more room to play with when zooming in.
        jltechword.WordPress.com

        Check out the Lumia 1020 Whitepaper in which even Nokia acknowledges not just about the pixels. They focus on the optics and software. http://i.nokia.com/blob/view/-/2723846/data/1/-/Lumia1020-whitepaper.pdf

      • Nokia approach on a whole is a good one, but from the MP size is just marketing. The quality of Lumia 1020’s pictures is great just because of the good optics and sensor, not because of its pixel count. If it had less pixel quality would be even higher, but they would have a smaller number to write in the data sheet and people would be less impressed. Physics is not something you can discuss about, with such a tiny sensor (even though bigger than the one present in most smartphones) you are diffraction limited and it’s just useless (if not harmful) increase pixel count.

    • jlword says:

      Thanks for the response. But I disagree. The MP count is not just marketing. Sure it is a marketable point as is the iPhone 5s’ 64 bit architecture(which has little effectiveness in the current level of tech though it certainly prepares for future advances), ot the finger print scanner which does have relevant applications. My point is that any feature is marketable point and it is wise for company to take a stand out feature, such as the 41 megapixel camera and market like no tommorow. However the ability to draw in so much data those megapixels allows for the oversampling of all of that info, and processing it down to the 5 megapixel ( while also retaining a 30+ megapixel image)image of which each of those 5 megapixels is comprised of up to seven megapixels. Thus creating a highly detailed image that can be easily shared to social networks as well. The other benefit of course is the “loss-less zoom” which is achievable due the the large amount of data collected via the high amount of megapixels.

      The whitepaper, supplied by Nokia, goes into great detail of the tech behind the hype. Its not all hype.

      jltechword.WordPress.com

      Check out the Lumia 1020 Whitepaper in which even Nokia acknowledges not just about the pixels. They focus on the optics and software. http://i.nokia.com/blob/view/-/2723846/data/1/-/Lumia1020-whitepaper.pdf

  29. viktormadarasz says:

    I update anyway in September from my aging iPhone 4s. Megapixels are not everything ( just like the Ghz used to be on CPUs :) )

  30. I have the 5S and all I know, is that when I’m out, I always take better pictures than everyone around me. I have yet to come across a camera phone that comes close to the 5S. Mind you, I have yet to meet up with someone with that nokia lumia phone but because of my experience I am sold on Apple’s approach to picture quality.

  31. Most of you seem to forget the worst part: the iPhone 6 could very well be even thinner than te current iPhones. This means war, regarding camera optics and sensor size.

    I wouldn’t even mind a 6MP camera, there are so many other improvements to be made. If we prefer better image quality, that is. Btw I haven’t seen any other phone with a high MP count being even remotely as sharp as the 5s when zooming in and analysing per-pixel sharpness. No wonder given the thinness of modern phones.

    • jlword says:

      Nokia’s approach – great optics AND high megapixels. Result – leader in smartphone imaging and photography tech. Its so good that Nokia Lumia 1020 won CES Innovations Awards 2014 Under Digital Imaging Category. Note all of the other honorees were dedicated cameras. The Lumia 1020 was the only smartphone named in that category.
      Lumia 1020 beats iphone 5s with zooming in detail because the great optics ensure great reception of light and large 41 megapixel sensor ensures a broad reception of “data” – which gives more room to play with when zooming in.
      jltechword.WordPress.com

      Check out the Lumia 1020 Whitepaper in which even Nokia acknowledges not just about the pixels. They focus on the optics and software. http://i.nokia.com/blob/view/-/2723846/data/1/-/Lumia1020-whitepaper.pdf

  32. Stuart Nolan says:

    Go Nintendo 3DS and have 8MP 3D photography.

  33. pinova says:

    Things the camera could be doing, but isn’t:
    1. Always level. A level, horizontal image option no matter what angle the camera body is being held.
    2. HQ Video Zoom. Using the maximum pixel map at all zoom sizes and magnification factors by cropping into the available pixel map of the image chip.
    3. Horizontal Image in Vertical Mode. When the iPhone body is vertical, there are 2448 pixels of width on the chip to make video frames with. If item #1 isn’t being used, then this map could be for full-quality video.
    4. Bluetooth earpieces as remote, wireless microphones. You shouldn’t have to depend on the on-board microphone for your videos. No pro does. Bluetooth HQ audio for my videos, please!

  34. I have nokia 808 pureview with 41 megapixel since 2012 – i look at a 8 megapixel camera as a joke since i had my old lg phone with 12 mega pixel about 5 years ago