The next iPhone could very well put Apple back in the driver’s seat for smartphone camera innovation, so says today’s Digitimes report. It’s likely Apple’s upgraded collection of iPhone devices set for release in the year 2021 will increase their use of VCMs. Increased demand for VCM components (voice coil motors) point to significant upgrades in 3D sensors and higher-end camera modules for the iPhone 13 family.
The Digitimes report suggests that VCM suppliers in Taiwan “expect order pull-ins from Apple to gradually turn strong starting in June.” Per the same set of sources from “the upstream supply chain,” next-generation iPhone could benefit from a sudden drop in component demand from Huawei. The China-based smartphone maker Huawei recently saw an an executive order from US President Joe Biden on securities investments that finance “certain companies of the People’s Republic of China,” bashing a significant dent in their global smartphone manufacturing prospects.
The report from Digitimes suggests that Apple has asked “related component suppliers” to ramp up capacities “by 30-40% in order to meet its demand.” The same sources suggested that Apple’s order pull-ins for VCMs will “begin surging in July” and that overall VCM shipments to Apple are “expected to reach the same level as those to the Android camp as a whole.”
This seems unlikely, at first glance – but consider the idea that these components are being used in Apple’s highest-end devices. The Android smartphone market worldwide has a far more broad spectrum devices, high to low-end, than Apple’s iPhone. The popularity of the iPhone out-paces the popularity of any other individual smartphone in the same price tier.
If you’re a big Apple fan, this could be great news. You could be seeing a new iPhone 13 Pro in late 2021 with smartphone camera powers beyond those of any that’ve come before it! If you’re looking for the most powerful camera on an Android device at the tail end of this year, it might not be as simple as it’s been in the past. But we shall see!