Front-facing cameras on smartphones can often feel a bit neglected, and the iPhone is no exception, as Apple hasn’t significantly updated selfie cameras since the iPhone 11. But another big update could be on the way.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo – an analyst with a good information record at Apple – writing about Medium (opens in new tab)Apple plans to add autofocus to the front camera of the iPhone 14 line.
In fact, this isn’t the first time they’ve said this, but reiterating it now shows that they’re still confident of it. It’s something we’ve previously heard from other sources as well, so it seems likely.
That’s not the only upgrade the selfie camera might be getting, as Kuo also claims Apple will use a six-element lens, up from the five elements in the iPhone 13’s lens.
This refers to the number of individual pieces of glass inside the lens, and while more isn’t necessarily better, it certainly can be, and likely would be in this case – especially as Kuo describes this change as an upgrade.
So the selfie camera on the iPhone 14 and its siblings is likely to offer significantly improved performance over previous iPhones, if that information is correct.
Kuo also shared information about the vendors Apple chose to build this new camera, which isn’t of much interest, except that if Kuo has those details, it’s even more believable that they know about any planned updates.
Analysis: autofocus vs fixed focus
According to Kuo, switching to autofocus will lead to “better selfie and video performance”, so the iPhone 14 should be a big improvement.
Current iPhones used fixed-focus selfie cameras, meaning the lens can’t be adjusted, and – without the help of additional software – the amount of a scene in focus is consistent across photos. With autofocus, you can optimize the focus for the type of photo you want to take. This allows for more varied shots and potentially better sharpness.
There is a slight downside to autofocus as it needs a split second to focus while a fixed focus lens does not, but for the most part autofocus is superior and more desirable.
However, it’s less essential on the front cameras than the rear ones, as you’re usually taking the same types of photos from the same distance, as most people are mostly taking selfies. Also, the software can pick up some of the slack.
But autofocus is still a nice upgrade, and it’s been a long time.
Through 9to5Mac (opens in new tab)