iPhone 6 Camera Design: What's in Store?

Apple consistently improves the camera in each iteration of the iPhone, and the iPhone 6 will be no different. The company's secret plans have already leaked, pointing towards several design changes and tweaks that will make the iPhone 6 an even more capable image capture device. The iPhone 5s camera was already proof that Apple is more interested in quality over quantity when it comes to the megapixel race.

iPod touch camera lens

The iPhone 6 will certainly build on improvements seen in the 5s. The iPhone 5s improved low light sensitivity by increasing the aperture to f/2.2 and bumping up the image sensor pixel size to 1.5 microns. The most obvious redesign feature involves a protruding lens ring on the iPhone 6. The new device will allegedly be so thin that in order to incorporate an improved camera assembly, an iPod touch style camera lens will be required.

iPod touch is just 6.1 mm thick, compared to the iPhone 5s clocking 7.6 mm. The 5s camera specs indicate an 8 megapixel image sensor coupled with an f/2.2 aperture five-element lens. When it comes to the iPod touch, its camera sports an f/2.4 aperture five-element lens, however the sensor comes in at only 5 megapixels. Both cameras feature a hybrid IR filter and backside illumination sensor.

While the iPhone 6 may not come in at 6.1 mm, shaving thickness off the device will not leave much room for the five-element lens. Parts leaks have also corroborated that the iPhone 6 will likely have a slightly protruding camera. The part undoubtedly will feature a sapphire crystal outer lens to protect from scratches and damage. The actual iPhone 6 camera ring has leaked to merchants on the web selling replacement parts.

iPhone 6 camera ring
Other rumored improvements include an improved lens module, and better image stabilization, which could also increase the space required for the iPhone 6 camera assembly. Megapixels are in the mix this time, with supply chain sources pointing to a completely new image sensor.
iPhone 6 camera Sony Exmor IMX220

Apple is rumored to have selected the Sony Exmor IMX220 image sensor for the iPhone 6. The sensor rocks 13 megapixels, and would be larger than the iPhone 5s sensor as well. While the iPhone 5s uses a Sony IMX145 image sensor sized at 1/3.2", the upgraded Sony component measures 1/2.3" in size.

Speculation was rampant that Apple would abandon its True Tone flash for some reason, simply because the LED flash shape in the iPhone 6 returns to circular. While the pill-shaped flash port on the iPhone 5s may have been necessary, the part has clearly been redesigned to incorporate True Tone capabilities in a smaller footprint.

iPhone 6 camera True Tone

The leaked ribbon above shows two distinct LED flash colors in one circular component destined for the iPhone 6. Previous peeks at this part did not reveal the LED colors, which look to be ready for True Tone action.

iOS 8 features will dovetail with iPhone 6 camera hardware improvements. The latest mobile operating system from Apple promises to bring several tweaks to the Photos app, including the addition of time lapse video recording to the stock Camera app. In fact, iOS 8 users will even be able to recover deleted photos directly on their iPhone.

Last but not least, a more powerful A8 processor along with a higher capacity battery will make the iPhone 6 camera the best performing to date. The larger 4.7-inch diagonal display size coming to the iPhone 6 will make taking and viewing photos a more user-friendly experience. Snapping photos at 13 megapixels will eat up more storage space, so rumors of a brand new 128 GB capacity model will be welcome news for prolific iPhone 6 photographers.

Look out for Apple's official iPhone 6 announcement next month, with the upgraded and redesigned iPhone 6 camera shipping shortly thereafter.