About seven months from now, Apple’s iPhone 14 series will be available. While the A16 Bionic processor and possibly some new-old camera hardware, directly borrowed from the iPhone 13 Pro, are expected to be included in the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max, the storey for Apple’s Pro models in 2022 promises to be quite different.
In terms of design, the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max are expected to have a titanium frame, circular volume buttons, and long speaker grills that harken back to the iPhone 4. Front-end changes are obviously the most significant.
According to reports, the iPhone 14 Pro will feature a dual-punch-hole screen, ending the era of the notch that began with the iPhone X nearly five years ago..
Finally, the iPhone 14 Pro is expected to feature a brand new 48MP primary sensor, which will be accompanied by two 12MP secondary sensors – zoom and ultra-wide – for a total of 72-megapixel goodness. There will be no camera bump. Apple’s flagship phone will get its first megapixel upgrade since the iPhone 6S.
To begin, let’s take a look at why it’s been taking so long for Apple to get rid of the 12MP sensor, and what the new 48MP camera can tell us about Apple’s plans for the iPhone camera in the years to come.
There a Good Reason It Took Apple Seven Years to Stop Using 12mp Sensors?
It’s not just that Apple isn’t innovating fast enough, as many Android devotees will tell you. Despite the fact that Apple’s Tim Cook and Co. take their time with some upgrades, it’s usually when:
To put it another way, the change is essential and serves a purpose.
The technology and its implementation have matured to an acceptable level.
To be honest, 48MP photos aren’t necessary for smartphones. There’s a fine line between pushing the limits of smartphone cameras and reaching a point where the benefits become insignificant. Because of the high resolution alone, native 48-50-100MP images will only take up more storage space, and when viewed on a 6-inch phone screen, they don’t appear any different from a lower res image.
4K video was exciting at the time, but 8MP cameras didn’t have the resolution needed to capture it back in those halcyon days. As a result, the 12MP sensor was chosen by Apple and virtually all other manufacturers as the ideal compromise for a smartphone camera.
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The Iphone 14 Pro Has a 48mp Camera for the First Time, but Why Did Apple Wait so Long?
Even though Nokia had a successful run with high-resolution cameras on Symbian and Windows phones, Huawei was ready in 2018 to disrupt the market with its P20 Pro, which featured a 40MP primary shooter as well as an additional 20MP monochrome shooter. The high-resolution club has expanded since then, with 48MP, 50MP, and even 108MP sensors being introduced by Samsung, OnePlus, and even Google.
Apple will have taken about four years to give Android users what Apple had about four years ago, but let’s see what Cupertino’s reasons are for finally switching to a high-res 48MP sensor when the iPhone 14 Pro comes out in September 2022.
High-definition video recording in 8K resolution
While 8K video may be the next big thing, it isn’t really a useful feature just yet. Why? Starting with the implementation of 8K video on Android, we’re left with a rather disappointing experience. This includes everything from poorly stabilised, low-framerate 6K videos to horrendously overstretched, low-dynamic-range, and significant frame cropped 8K videos (where the video looks zoomed in).
8K video, which is best viewed on a large screen that supports 8K resolution, was and still is prohibitively expensive for the average consumer to acquire and enjoy. In addition, many professionals don’t even record in 8K in the first place. To give one example, the vast majority of television shows are not produced in 8K, so owning an 8K television is useless. In the same way, videos on YouTube should be viewed in the same way.
As such, why is Apple on board with 8K TVs being so expensive and professional filmmakers not recording in 8K? Future-proofing. 8K isn’t absolutely necessary right now, but this may be the case in a few years.
This may be the most important reason for Apple to switch from a 16MP to a 48MP, 8K camera: Apple’s upcoming AR/VR headset. Higher resolution is more important in AR/VR, which essentially has two small displays through which you must see the entire world, than it is on your phone’s tiny screen.
As far as video rendering is concerned, Apple’s powerful processors are far superior to Qualcomm’s and Samsung’s Exynos chips. As a result, I expect the iPhone 14 Pro’s 8K video to look far superior to Samsung’s or Xiaomi’s previous efforts. There are a few exceptions. The Galaxy S22 Ultra has yet to be thoroughly tested.
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Pixel-Binned Photos with More Detail
In all likelihood, the iPhone 14 Pro won’t ship with the ability to take 48MP photos out of the box. Yes, that’s exactly what I’m getting at here. A technique known as “pixel-binning,” in which multiple pixels are combined into a single larger pixel, is more than likely what Apple will use in its next iPhone model. Combining four pixels into a single one allows for greater light intake, which is critical for cameras with small sensors.
If you’d like to take a 48MP photo, it’s safe to assume that Apple will allow you to do so on the iPhone 14 Pro. Pixel-binning has been used by Android manufacturers for some time, but they avoid using it by default because of the lack of detail and the loss of dynamic range.
Superres Zoom Alternative via Sensor Cropping
Taking a look at Google’s Pixel, which has been using what the company calls Super Res Zoom for some time, will help us better understand sensor cropping. Using multi-frame capture techniques, this clever software algorithm enhances an image’s detail. Without a dedicated zoom camera, Super Res Zoom on Pixels is still completely digital, but it retains the expected quality.
Take a look at Grant Likes Tech’s shots in the gallery above. When it comes to optical zoom, Google’s Pixel 6 phone outperforms Apple’s iPhone 13 despite the lack of a separate camera for this purpose. All of this is possible because of Super Res Zoom.
For the record, Huawei’s P50 Pro flagship takes this competition to a new level. The camera has a fixed 3.5x optical zoom of 64MP. Even at 10x magnification, a combination of the phone’s 16MP sensor and the full 64 megapixels can produce stunning results.
To see this camera system in action, check out the Huawei P50 Pro review.
Apple AR/VR headset
8K videos recorded on the iPhone 14 Pro, as I mentioned in the section on 8K video, are almost certainly going to be used for Apple’s AR/VR headset. The timing, on the other hand, is a strong indicator that Apple’s AR/VR plans are connected to 8K.
iPhone 14 series is expected to be released in September 2022 if everything goes according to plan, while the first ever Apple AR/VR headset is expected to be released in 2023. Rumors suggested that it would arrive in late 2022, which would have been reasonable, but Cupertino appears to be experiencing production issues.
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A Periscope Zoom Camera on Iphone 15 Pro?
As soon as one of the iPhone’s cameras is rumoured to be getting a major upgrade, it only makes sense to ask, “What about the other two??” Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is known for his accuracy, predicts that Apple will release the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max with a periscope zoom camera in 2023.
Considering that the iPhone 13 Pro already had a 3x zoom lens upgrade, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. The iPhone 14 Pro is also likely to have a 3x zoom lens upgrade. However, I don’t expect Apple to add a fourth camera to the iPhone 15 Pro line.
A 3.5 to 4x optical zoom lens with short focusing distance, which can still be used for Portrait Mode photography, is more likely to be what Apple settles for. This is important to the company because it has become a staple of the iPhone camera.
In the case of the Huawei P50 Pro and Google’s Pixel 6 Pro, both of which have 3.5x and 4x zoom lenses, these cameras show that, if optimised and used correctly, such a camera can be great for portraits as well as long-range zoom.
What Do You Think of the Iphone 14 Pro’S Ultra-Wide-Angle Camera?
This phone’s wide-angle camera is usually the weakest link in its entire camera system. The iPhone 13 and 13 Pro aren’t an exception, and that’s a shame. I’m not a huge fan of ultra-wide-angle cameras, but I do think that if companies use them, they should do it right and invest more time and resources to ensure that they perform well in all lighting conditions.
When confronted with challenging lighting conditions, for example, the ultra-wide-angle cameras on Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro and my Pixel 6 Pro quickly degrade. Even if the iPhone 14 Pro is released, I’m not sure if this issue will be addressed until the next major release, just like the new zoom camera.
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Iphone 14 Pro Punch-Hole Selfie Camera with Face Id
Finally, let’s take a look at the new iPhone 14 Pro’s front-facing camera. Using the same 12MP camera sensor on three successive iPhones is a recipe for disaster. When the 12MP True Depth camera debuted on the iPhone 11 series, it produced some of the best photos and videos on any smartphone. But that was in 2019.
Pixel 6 Pro and Galaxy S22 Ultra smartphones are now capable of taking photos and videos that are on par with or even better than that of the iPhone 13 Pro. HDR video, for example, has long been a sole domain of Apple’s flagship. In the past, this was the case, but with the Pixel 6 Pro, this is no longer the case.
When it comes to the front-facing camera, it’ll be interesting to see what Apple has in mind, as the current large notch will no longer suffice. Does it have the potential to get even worse?
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