Apple CEO Tim Cook has revealed that the iPhone has been using Sony camera sensors for the last 10 years.
While it’s not a well-kept secret that Sony provide Apple with sensor technology, Apple tend to keep tight-lipped about the specifics of hardware components that go into the iPhone.
Apple lists the megapixels, focal length, aperture, and other specifications; but doesn’t mention identifiable hardware components.
We’ve been partnering with Sony for over a decade to create the world’s leading camera sensors for iPhone. Thanks to Ken and everyone on the team for showing me around the cutting-edge facility in Kumamoto today. pic.twitter.com/462SEkUbhi
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) December 13, 2022
Cook is currently touring Japan and during a visit to Sony’s secretive sensor factory in Kumamoto he was photographed inspecting two iPhone 14 models.
“We’ve been partnering with Sony for over a decade to create the world’s leading camera sensors for iPhone. Thanks to Ken and everyone on the team for showing me around the cutting-edge facility in Kumamoto today,” he writes.
Sony is the world leader in image sensor markets, with a 44% mark share for CMOS image sensors last year.
Its Kumamoto plant is so secretive that journalists allowed in are not even permitted to take photos of mundane areas like corridors, just in case something sensitive is caught within the frame.
Cook’s visit to the plant and subsequent tweet sends a clear signal that Apple’s partnership with Sony is expected to continue into the future.
Last month, PetaPixel reported that Sony is set to provide Apple with a “state-of-the-art” image sensor for its next iPhone that will supposedly double the amount of light it can capture and give it the ability to clearly capture a face even with a strong backlight.
According to a Nikkei Asia report, Sony’s new image sensor doubles the saturation signal level in each pixel which allows it to capture more light while also allowing it to reduce overexposure or underexposure in certain settings. As a result, the sensor is capable of not only better low-light performance, but it is better able to meter starkly different exposures, such as a face that is heavily backlit by the sun.
Sony will supply Apple and “other smartphone makers” with access to the new image sensor, which the company is producing in response to pressure from Samsung Electronics, which also makes smartphone sensors.