Keeping up with the latest smartphone news and iPhone rumors can be a full-time job! As more and more – not to mention more and more powerful – camera phones are being released, there are bigger and bolder rumors about new handsets and the new tricks that they will possess.
The camera phone industry has completely transformed in the last few years, and in turn it has also transformed the traditional camera industry. Not only does everyone with a phone now also have a camera in their pocket, but they also have multiple lenses / focal lengths and more megapixels than some of the best mirrorless cameras do.
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Phones like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra have smashed the 100MP threshold and even brought 8K video into the hands of the masses. Meanwhile the iPhone 13 Pro continues to be the camera phone of choice for many shooters, would will no doubt be following all of the iPhone 14 news keenly and the Google Pixel 6 Pro shows that Google is finally taking the game seriously again.
Casualties have obviously been had, though. The once-mighty Huawei's misfortunes have been well documented, with Honor – the former Huawei sub-brand that has since splintered off into its own entity – rising from the ashes and trying to remain relevant in the ever-changing industry.
With MWC 2022 having been and gone we’re now awaiting specific announcements and launches from several manufacturers - here's what's happening in the world of phone rumors…
iPhone rumors, news, and leaks
Apple may have been the company that ignited the camera phone revolution, but it has fallen behind the times in recent years as the latest iPhones haven't been able to match the innovation and ingenuity of its rivals.
Both the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro models featured modest 12MP camera arrays, with the Pro finally seeing Apple adopt a 3-camera setup. However, this was a far cry from the likes of Nokia offering phones with 9 cameras, and Samsung and Xiaomi announcing 100MP handsets.
Apple really needs to up its game to remain relevant – especially after slipping down to the world's fourth-biggest smartphone company. After a somewhat middling reception to the iPhone 12, Apple came back with a bang with the iPhone 13 family – and that momentum looks to be continuing with some big changes coming to the iPhone 14, which has been subject to a plethora of rumors and leaks.
After a somewhat middling reception to the iPhone 12, Apple came back with a bang with the iPhone 13 family – and that momentum looks to be continuing with some big changes coming to the iPhone 14, which has been subject to a plethora of rumors and leaks.
Starting with the camera, the iPhone 14 is said to feature a new 48MP sensor, giving the iPhone 14 a long-awaited bump in resolution. In fact, this would be the first megapixel upgrade to the rear 12MP camera since the iPhone 6S in 2015!
Intriguingly, while Samsung's 108MP sensor may have higher resolution, this new Apple sensor could actually be the best one on the market. Samsung's sensor possesses 2.4-micron pixels, while the rumored Apple version is said to be 2.5-micron pixels. Coupled with Apple's market-leading computational mojo to produce clean images, this could be a real game-changer.
Both the iPhone 14 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max are said to have the new A16 Bionic chipset and LPTO screens, which provide a variable refresh rate. The non-Pro models are leaked to have the older A15 Bionic chip and 60Hz displays. The information from @shadow_leak also tells us that all four new iPhone 14 models will come with 6GB of RAM and flexible OLED screens.
At present, however, it looks like the new sensor might only be destined for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models. This would mean the base iPhone 14 may be stuck with the same 12MP sensor - which would certainly help better separate the two product lines, even though non-Pro shooters will be aggrieved. We don’t mention the iPhone 14 mini as several leaks, including by reliable leaker @shadow_leak, have pointed towards there being no iPhone 14 mini. In reality though it looks like this has really just been replaced by Apple’s new iPhone SE (2022), which is the company’s most affordable phone to date.
We can also, apparently, expect a new punch-hole design that finally gets rid of the front-facing camera notch. The new “hole + pill design” will apparently see the circular punch hole house the Face ID dot projector and the pill-shaped cut-out will contain both the front camera and Face ID infrared camera. Apple is also said to be banking on a horizontal 'i' for iPhone as a design differentiator, being the only company using a visible two-hole concept.
Recently, reliable leaker @shadow_leak tweeted some screen specifications for the eagerly awaited iPhone 14 series and, like the no notch design, they might upset some Apple fans. If you were expecting the upgrade to the iPhone 13 series to follow suit with newer versions of the iPhone 13 Pro Max with its giant screen or the iPhone 13 mini with its teeny screen, you’ll be disappointed as sizing is alleged to be more midway across the series. Allegedly, the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro will both feature 6.06-inch displays, while the 14 Max and 14 Pro Max will feature 6.68-inch displays. This means that the screens on both new iPhone 14 Max models will be a little bit smaller than those seen on the iPhone 13 Pro Max – 6.68-inches compared to 6.7-inches.
And of course, the iPhone 14 is almost certain to feature a USB-C port instead of Apple's proprietary Lighting port, following legislative changes in the European Union and United States. It also looks like Apple may remove the iPhone’s physical SIM card slot for the iPhone 14. When it was first rumored we took this with a big pinch of salt, however since then this has been corroborated by both a MacRumors source and reliable then leaker @dylandkt, giving it much more weight and both of these say we will see the back of the SIM card this year, meaning the iPhone 14 launch.
Lastly, onto price, reliable yet anonymous leaker, LeaksApplePro, has revealed vis his iDropNews column that Apple will be passing the increased production costs owed to the new design onto the consumer. The tipster alleges three out of the four new models will come with heftier price tags with the iPhone 14 at $799, iPhone 14 Max at $899, iPhone 14 Pro at $1,099 and iPhone 14 Pro Max at $1,199.
iPhone SE (2022)
While the smaller form factor made a return last year with the iPhone 13 Mini, rumors continue to swirl that Apple is set to ditch the Mini line and that looks ever more believable now Apple’s new Phone SE (2022) – the company’s most affordable phone to date – has launched.
The iPhone SE (2022) comes in a compact design with iOS 15 delivering a seamless user experience and features impressive upgrades including the performance of the A15 Bionic chip, which makes user experience better across the board, including advanced camera capabilities. Exactly as we would have been expecting from the iPhone 14 mini.
iPhone Synthetic Group Selfies
Time of flight sensors being commonly used to produce software-driven depth of field effects, such as the iPhone 13's Cinematic mode, Apple is looking to add even more clever computational imaging tricks.
One of these is 'Synthetic Group Selfies', for which the company registered a recent patent. This enables you to take group selfies with your friends even if you aren't in the same location; one person 'hosts' the selfie and invites others to collaborate, wherever they are.
Each user shares their selfie, and the host's iPhone merges them all into a single photograph using computational imaging. So, whether you're all at the same event and but you can't all get the best lighting, or you want a group shot but you're in different places, this new iPhone tech may soon come to the rescue.
iPhone underwater shooting
With more and more smartphones boasting water-proofing, Apple has registered a patent for 'Submersible Electronic Devices With Imaging Capabilities'.
This technology is focused around optimizing devices for underwater photography, with the iPhone detecting the conditions when it is submerged and the shutter is depressed.
When this happens, there are a number of things that the camera and its sensor does: it gathers light and depth information, detects murkiness, computes how far away objects are and adjusts the illumination, filters and so on accordingly.
While we'll forever be nervous about letting our iPhones near water, this could be an interesting USP for future Apple handsets.