April 4, 2011

Sony may supply 8MP Image sensors for iPhone 5

All eyes are set on Worldwide Developers Conference starting on June 5 where Apple is expected to announce the next generation iPhone 5. Sir Howard Stringer, president and CEO of Sony Corp, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, is said to have slipped Sony s plans about 8 megapixel image sensors to be supplied to Apple for next generation iPhone 5. Seth Weintraub, owner of 9to5Mac blog noted that Stringer stated that the factory making image sensors for Apple was affected by the Tsunami in Japan. 

Apple usually sources the image sensors for its iOS devices from OmniVision that offered backside-illuminated 5 megapixel CMOS Image sensor in the iPhone 4. OmniVision Factory located in Japan is reported to be affected by Tsunami and hence there has been a delay in supply of image sensors for Apple products. 

According to report by WSJ, Stringer casually stated -
Early on, he raised the irony of Sony supplying camera components for Apple devices. It always puzzles me, he said. Why would I make Apple the best camera? It is unclear what devices he was talking about as Sony isn t known to supply key camera components, known as image sensors, to Apple.
Sony also manufactures backside-illuminated Exmor R image sensors which were recently used in the current Xperia Arc model. Hence it might have been an indirect offer from Sony to Apple for buying image sensors from them instead of getting the iPhone 5 shipment delayed. As of now there s no second reported to confirm what Weintraub heard at the interview but it looks ambiguous why Sony would supply parts to one of its rivals. 
From the mixed reports available so far, I believe iPhone 5 indeed will have 8 megapixel Image Sensor. However, there s no clarity whether those Image Sensors would be from OmniVision or Sony.

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