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The iPhone's ultrawide and front cameras could finally get a hardware upgrade
- An analyst report suggests that Apple could upgrade the iPhone 16 Pro to a 48MP ultrawide.
- The report also suggests the iPhone 17 series could come with a 24MP selfie camera.
- Apple has stuck to a 12MP ultrawide and 12MP selfie camera since the iPhone 11.
The iPhone 15 series is the latest iPhone that you can buy right now. Arguably, the iPhones have had a great ultrawide and selfie camera all these years, and we don’t see a lot of complaints from users. However, it’s no secret that Apple hasn’t significantly changed or improved the camera hardware in several years. That could change with the iPhone 16 Pro for the ultrawide and iPhone 17 for the selfie camera, with the company said to be aiming for a chunky upgrade on these fronts.
iPhone 16 Pro could get a 48MP ultrawide
According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPhone 16 Pro could jump to a 48MP 1/2.6-inch sensor with 0.7µm pixel size and 6P lens assembly for its rear ultrawide camera. A higher MP sensor (at the same pixel size) will allow for better clarity and details, with results best noticed in low-light shooting environments. Kuo notes that the output will be a 12MP image, which indicates that Apple will resort to pixel binning, which would improve the low-light shooting output.
Apple has stuck to a 12MP ultrawide camera since the iPhone 11. The latest iPhone 15 Pro has a 12MP 1/2.55-inch sensor with a 1µm pixel size and 6P lens assembly. The pixel size is said to be decreasing for the iPhone 16, but with pixel binning, the output should be 1.4µm pixel size.
It’s unclear if the base iPhone 16 will also make the same jump. Knowing Apple, that is unlikely.
Android flagships have continued to go back and forth on their ultrawide setups, but Apple’s move up to a higher resolution ultrawide will set a new baseline against which Android phones will compete.
iPhone 17 could get a 24MP front camera
Kuo also mentions that the iPhone 17 will be upgraded to a 24MP front camera with a 6P lens assembly.
This will be a significant upgrade over the iPhone 14 and 15’s (presumably even the iPhone 16’s) front camera, which is a 12MP shooter with a 5P lens assembly. The iPhone 11, iPhone 12, and iPhone 13 also came with a 12MP shooter and 5P lens assembly, but Apple upgraded the iPhone 14 and iPhone 15’s front camera to use autofocus and gave it a wider aperture. The regular and Pro series use the same front cameras, so we expect the Pro to get the same upgrades.
Once again, this will set a baseline for Android devices. Android phones have 12MP, 16MP, and even 32MP selfie cameras. But in the coming years, we can expect them to beat 24MP as a spec. Even budget phones will eventually up their selfie game with higher MP count cameras, and we can all thank Apple for spurring the competition.