Apple's next iPhone could include an 8-megapixel camera manufactured by Sony. At least, that's the conjecture flying around the Web, after Sony CEO Howard Stringer suggested his company is manufacturing components for its rival.
"Why should I make Apple the best camera?" Stringer asked the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg during an April 1 talk at Carnegie Hall, after apparently suggesting that one of Sony's factories built sensors for Apple's iPhone and iPad.
Sony has never been acknowledged as an Apple component maker, leading to speculation that Sony components will find their way into the next version of the iPhone and possibly the iPad. As noted by the blog 9to5Mac, that would dovetail neatly with TheStreet's report from April 2010 that Apple had picked Sony as a vendor for an 8-megapixel iPhone camera, displacing OmniVision.
In addition to higher-resolution cameras, current rumors suggest the iPhone 5 could include Apple's A5 proprietary processor, hardware upgraded to enable 3G FaceTime video conferencing, and NFC (near-field communication) technology, which could enable the device to act as an electronic wallet. Over the summer, Apple hired an NFC expert as the new product manager for mobile commerce, in addition to publishing a number of NFC-related patents.
An 8-megapixel camera, paired with NFC and other technology, could allow Apple to compete more heartily against a growing family of increasingly sophisticated Google Android devices. That being said, speculation also abounds that Apple will delay the iPhone 5 past the usual summer release date for its smartphones, to later in 2011.
"Apple's apparent focus on software in its [Worldwide Developers Conference] announcement backs up what my own sources are saying about the annual conference," The Loop's Jim Dalrymple wrote in a March 28 posting. "That is, expect a software show in 2011, not a hardware event."
Meanwhile, other sources have suggested to TechCrunch that the actual release of iOS 5, the next iteration of Apple's mobile software, could also be delayed until fall. Combined with an iPhone 5 launch in that period, this would significantly alter Apple's usual habit of previewing and releasing both smartphone hardware and software in the sprint-to-summer timeframe.
"The new iOS will be heavily built around the cloud, and we could see several new services launch from Apple that take advantage of this," read TechCrunch's March 26 report. "But much of the cloud stuff will be talked about first at WWDC, Apple's developer event which will take place in June."
In addition to new cloud features, a more powerful camera could be a compelling selling point for an iPhone seeking to hold onto its market-share against the aggressions of Android Army.