Though Apple has improved the cameras on the iPhone each year, this would be the first time the actual image sensor gets a boost in megapixels since 2011, when Apple upgraded the rear-facing camera’s 5-megapixel camera to 8 megapixels.
The same TechNews Taiwan report mentions a second source that speculates Apple might even go a step further and adopt a 20-megapixel imaging sensor from Sony, but this rumour seems highly dubious. Apple is typically pretty conservative when it comes to any hardware changes, and adding an extra 12 megapixels seems extremely unlikely — especially since Apple has found plenty of ways to make its current 8-megapixel camera pop simply by enhancing the camera’s software.
And as Apple has pointed out several times in the past, the number of megapixels doesn’t determine image quality — it’s the size of those megapixels that matter. That’s why the iPhone camera can stand up to most other cameras with more megapixels, including Nokia’s Lumia phone with a whopping 41 megapixels.
In either case, developer John Gruber, who has an excellent track record with predicting Apple products in the pipeline, says the next iPhone will have “the biggest camera jump ever.”
“I’ve heard that it’s some kind of weird two-lens system where the back camera uses two lenses and it somehow takes it up into DSLR quality imagery,” Gruber says.
To get an idea of how Apple’s current iPhone camera stacks up against competing smartphone cameras, take a gander at our smartphone shootout.