Apple said to be working on the ‘biggest camera jump ever’, brand new dual-lens rumored to come to next iPhone


In the past few years, Apple’s iPhone series has been leading the way in camera performance with some of the best cameras that might not have the detailed resolution of Android rivals, but can boast with great color capture and a quick and capable camera app.

Next year, however, Apple might make its ‘biggest camera jump ever’ on iPhone, with a brand new type of a dual-lens camera system. The rumor comes from Apple analyst John Gruber, who traditionally has well-positioned sources within the company.


This is still a rumor that is not officially confirmed, and Gruber does mention that he has heard it “from a birdie of a birdie”, so do take it with a grain of salt.

At the same time, we can’t help remember that Apple has patented an interchangeable lens system for the iPhone. A filing with the US Patent Office (USPTO) from April 1st shows a clever system that allows the attachment of a large lens to the body of the iPhone in a manner somewhat similar (the bayonet and the attachement mechanisms, however, differ) to the Sony’s E-mount lenses for Xperia smartphones. The patent filing below reveals the details behind this interesting new announcement.

You have also probably seen third-party solutions like the popular OlloClip that add a fish-eye, wide-angle and a macro lens to current iPhones. The attachment mechanism for the Olloclip, however, is much less intricate - you just snap it to the edge of an iPhone.

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35 Comments

1. BobLawblaw unregistered

72mp with the ability to see through time and space..

4. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

Is this somekind of tech used by HTC on their M8? The duo camera? But what is he saying about DSLR quality??? Any way next year iPhone might be interesting with the hope of an additional GB of Ram and a new camera tech with higher megapixel count.

6. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Yes it sounds just like HTC duo camera. DSLR quality means that Bokeh effect that only DSLR's used to be able to do well.

14. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Interchangeable lenses were one of the SLRs advantages vs. point-and-shoots that the smartphones have largely replaced. Interchangeable lenses would meet Gruber's description of 'two-lens system'....

9. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

If you look at the pictures, it looks more like a lens you can snap onto the normal camera lens. One of the reason DSLR camera's take better shots, are the lenses and optical zoom options. With a snap on lens, they could get close to a DSLR camera.

13. rizevnarastek

Posts: 349; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

DSLR cameras have MASSIVE sensors compared to phone camera sensors. MASSIVE lenses as well.

17. Guaire

Posts: 890; Member since: Oct 15, 2014

Instead of HTC's, sounds like Toshiba's or Corephotonics' dual camera module. Toshiba revealed it more than a year ago. You can find these easily. As well I understand both works on same principle. Digitally producing a larger image taken from two smaller sensors with a dedicated processor. Anyway Huawei Honor 6x and Coolpad Grand 5 will come with dual camera modules very soon and we will see their abilities.

25. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Still wouldn't be powerful enough.

2. vincelongman

Posts: 5728; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

So Apple to sue Sony over the QX series?

12. rency0722

Posts: 158; Member since: Jun 12, 2013

More like, Apple patenting on their own lenses for mobile phone cameras.

3. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

No, in the last few years other phones cameras have been handing Apple its a$$. The 4s was the last time Apple was ahead.

5. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

Yeah But it was good if not the best.

7. techhahn

Posts: 14; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

What if apple comes up (appropriate word, Copies) HTC's Dual Camera lens blur effect, and calls it DSLR feature?

8. Victor.H

Posts: 1079; Member since: May 27, 2011

It's completely different by the looks of it. HTC uses two sensors, while with Apple we're talking about two lenses. The bokeh effect might be similar, though, depending on the choice of lenses.

10. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Well yes, putting an extra big lens onto mobile phone helps it gather more light and as such better picture, there is already stuff out there that does this though for iphone/android even windows phone I think. So yeah, I suppose apple wants a piece of that cake

16. mixedfish

Posts: 1562; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

How does putting a "big lens" onto of a mobile phone with another lens built in gather more light than it already can with a fixed aperture? That's like putting on glasses and suddenly you can see in the dark easier. LOL, talk about magnifying distortions with more distortions. A fun lens system at the very best case scenario, but "DSLR quality imagery" is one big pipe dream. SMH at phone fans, no clue about tech.

19. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

I never said anything about it being able to give the quality they claim. As for the more light and better picture it does work with the bigger ones allowing better low light pictures and possibility for optical zoom. As for distortion probably dont know specifics but please dont begin accusing me of something i am not. Never claimed to know how the many different lenses work and many are crap but some do Have a friend that has some for his phone.

31. tedkord

Posts: 17417; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

It does, sort of. The same technique is used in astrophotography, employing a focal reducer decreases the time needed to get an exposure. You're not really getting more light, but you're putting more of the light on each pixel. The higher the f/ratio (and thus magnification), the more the light is spread out.

34. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

ah well that explains how it works. But yeah, still don't think a discrete lens is going to give DSLR quality, but we will see

11. fatexo

Posts: 221; Member since: May 21, 2010

Will this be having the new iPhone 6 plus feature where the OIS goes crazy ??

15. darkoman4

Posts: 183; Member since: May 30, 2014

Makes sense for Apple to add some marketing feature to their S series to make you buy into it. It was Siri, than fingerprint sensor, now it is time for camera.

18. Classique

Posts: 73; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

The difference is the size of the sensor the iPhone has 1/3" size sensor which lets in very little light compared to high end compact cameras, Nokia's 808 and 1020 and especially DSLR's with APS-C and Full Frame sensors. Unless they increase the size of the sensor to close to one inch like the 808 I can't see the image quality being close to "DSLR"

20. coolcity

Posts: 6; Member since: Jul 10, 2014

"Apple’s iPhone series has been leading the way in camera performance with some of the best cameras that might not have the detailed resolution of Android rivals...." What a stupid comment. It's BECAUSE their cameras had inferior resolution that they were NOT amongst the best. What other product would be considered among the best if they were not as good as the best? It's a comment that could only be written about Apple products. Had those cameras been fitted to any other brand they would have been slated because they were inferior to other flagship models.

21. TimCook

Posts: 450; Member since: Oct 23, 2014

Apple devices have always had the best cameras. Apple is simply the best and they always deliver high quality products.

22. Edward_bly

Posts: 278; Member since: Dec 11, 2013

Dream on Mr. Cook

23. coolcity

Posts: 6; Member since: Jul 10, 2014

Just another comment from one of those Apple fans who live in this odd world that has them believe that Apple products are better than anything out there, contrary to reality. How could they have the best cameras when they have an inferior resolution to many other smartphones on the market? That fact alone confirms the point and it's not my opinion, it's a scientific fact, just basic physics. If higher resolution cameras result in better pictures, and they generally do, then anything with a lower resultion must be inferior. I haven't seen anything from Apple to beat the PureView pictures from the Nokia Lumia cameras or the results from the Sony Z range and am not likely to. We have all three of these manufacturers phones in the family and Apple cameras don't even come close to the Nokia or Sony ones.

24. TimCook

Posts: 450; Member since: Oct 23, 2014

Apple has never been about specs, even through some Nokia and Sony phones might have more pixels it doesn't matter because people don't care about pixels, is the image process that matters and the IPhones have the best image process, IPhone photos look professional. One of the reasons why the IPhone 6 is the largest selling smartphone is because it has the best camera in the market.

29. coolcity

Posts: 6; Member since: Jul 10, 2014

People do care about pixels, perhaps more than they should as we all know that the most pixels doesn't necessarily mean the best pictures. But that's why Nokia made the pixel count the main selling point on their Lumia 1020, because they knew that's what would sell it. However the fact remains is that iPhones do not produce the best pictures overall, regardless of how good their image processing is. As other people have said, it hasn't had the best pictures for quite some time and even when it did that was debatable. As I said earlier, this isn't just opinion it's fact, there are plenty of tests out there that prove the point if you're not capable of being able to see the difference just by looking at the results.

32. tedkord

Posts: 17417; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

iPhone photos don't even come close to the two year old Lumia 1020.

26. iampayne

Posts: 322; Member since: Aug 12, 2013

Whats funny about your comment is Sony makes the sensors for Apple. So actually Apple does come close to the Sony cameras. And if you knew anything about cameras or physics you would be saying something completely different. Example, my old windows mobile phone had a 5 mp camera. There is not a single picture that thing took to look anything like what the iPhone 4 could produce in the same settings. But same mega pixel count should produce the same pictures to your logic. Can you explain that? Seriously though, does louder headphones make for better sound? Your logic is off.

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