If a report this morning from South Korea is to be believed, Apple could be about to do something it has never previously done with an iPhone; use a Korean-made front-facing (otherwise known as ‘selfie’) camera in the next version of its legendary smartphone.
The claim in question has been made by The Electronic Times, which said that the Cupertino company had decided to change its supply-chain management (SCM) in relation to front-facing cameras, by classifying them as “high-end”, in a switch from their previous “low-end” status.
The report stated that there had been an increase in the unit cost of parts “due to the advancement in functions, such as adding an autofocus function to the front camera. According to the industry, the unit price of the iPhone 14 front camera has risen nearly three times compared to previous models.”
The iPhone 14, of course, is the iPhone variant that Apple is expected to debut this fall. And according to the report, it is the South Korean electronic components manufacturer LG Innotek – which has already provided high-end rear-facing cameras to Apple – that will supply products for the new device’s front-facing camera, the company having now begun preparations for mass production.
The report said that Apple had already intended to install products from LG Innotek in the front camera of 2023’s iPhone 15, only for “quality problems from Chinese manufacturers during the quality tests” to prompt the Cupertino company to bring forward this plan to the iPhone 14.
Before this change, it was apparently those “Chinese manufacturers” and Japan’s Sharp that were set to be the principal suppliers for the next iPhone’s front camera. Now, it will seemingly be a combination of LG Innotek and Sharp that provides those parts.
The Electronic Times’ report added that LG Innotek was set to “benefit greatly” from the arrangement, as it emerges as a leading supplier of products for front cameras, with the prospect of “trillions in sales” purely from orders for the iPhone 14 selfie camera.
And there’s more than that: “In addition to modules, LG Innotek has internalized some key optical parts such as Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) parts, camera PCBs, and actuators. Until now, LG Innotek’s partners have supplied the optical parts, which were then assembled into modules by LG, before being supplied to Apple.”
It all sounds like reason to get pretty excited. And as always here at AppleMagazine, we will keep you posted on the latest developments on this front in the run-up to the iPhone 14’s anticipated September launch.