Are these the future iPhone 16 sensors? Rumored Sony sensors shoot up to 200MP

iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max
(Image credit: Future)

If you've been following the iPhone 15 rumor mill, you'll know that there has been a lot of back-and-forth about the likely image sensor in a premium iPhone 15 Pro Max. Will it be a bigger 1-inch IMX989, or the same old IMX803 48MP 1/1.28-inch quad-Bayer sensor.

Perhaps there is a 'third way'. Sony's new IMX903 and IMX907 chips are being touted to steer somewhere between the two size-wise but include a layer of sub-pixels which can improve focusing, and dual-layer transistor pixel sensor tech.

Specifically, we're looking at two new image sensors:

Sony IMX903

Size: 1/1.14-inch (0.877)
Resolution: 48 Megapixels
Pixel size: 1.4µm pixels
AF: Dual-pixel (so each pixel made of two photo-diodes)
Extra features: Dolby Wide Dynamic Range, 4K high frame rate, Cinematic Mode

Sony IMX907

Size: 1/1.12-inch (0.893)
Resolution: 50 Megapixels
Pixel size: 1.4µm pixels
AF: Quad-pixel (so each pixel made of four photo-diodes)
Extra features: Dolby Wide Dynamic Range, 4K high frame rate, Cinematic Mode

How does that make 200 megapixels, you reasonably ask? Samsung has used the same logic in the past; if there are 50 pixels of 1.4µm and each has four photodiodes for the AF system, bish bosh, 200MP. So this chip will have 200MP is the same way that Samsung's ISOCELL HP2 chip – used in the Galaxy S23 – does.

Whether the S23's photos are actually better than the iPhone 14 is another discussion altogether, and something we've looked at in our Samsung Galaxy S23 v iPhone 14 v Google Pixel 7 Pro comparison.

We'd expect both to use Sony's stacked sensor design which places the photodiodes above the transistors rather than sharing the same space. 

Circling back to the starting point, it does seem that these new additions to the Sony range – if indeed these specs prove true – won't be in the iPhone 15, but in the IMX903 we're almost certainly looking at the iPhone 16 Pro Max's main camera sensor, as well – according to GSMarena via Sparrows News– to a Sony Xperia Pro-I sequel phone.

These are rumors, but from sources who have got a few things right in the past. In the meantime, perhaps it's best to just check out the best camera phones available now, or for iPhone 14 users hoping for a meaningful upgrade this September, perhaps you just need a fresh iPhone 14 Pro Max case to see you through another 12 months!

See our iPhone 15 rumors hub

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Adam Juniper
Managing Editor

With over 20 years of expertise as a tech journalist, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge across a vast number of product categories, including timelapse cameras, home security cameras, NVR cameras, photography books, webcams, 3D printers and 3D scanners, borescopes, radar detectors… and, above all, drones. 

Adam is our resident expert on all aspects of camera drones and drone photography, from buying guides on the best choices for aerial photographers of all ability levels to the latest rules and regulations on piloting drones. 

He is the author of a number of books including The Complete Guide to Drones, The Smart Smart Home Handbook, 101 Tips for DSLR Video and The Drone Pilot's Handbook