Apple’s iPhone 14 range looks set to increase prices significantly. And now we have a better idea why…
Popular Korean tech site ET News reports that, for the first time in iPhone history, Apple will install a South Korean front camera in its smartphone. The camera will bring major upgrades in image quality, but comes with a eye-watering cost increase.
Citing industry sources, ET News claims that Apple was forced to quickly change its plans for the iPhone 14’s front camera following “quality problems from Chineses manufacters” during testing. Consequently, Apple will install an LG Innotek camera module this year which was originally intended for the iPhone 15.
The good news is ET News reports the module brings advanced functionality for the iPhone’s front camera for the first time, including autofocus. This is something respected industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo first revealed back in April with autofocus joining an improved aperture for better depth-of-field in Portrait mode and video calls.
The downside is cost. According to ET News’ source, “the unit price of the iPhone 14 front camera has risen nearly three times compared to previous models.” This is the biggest component price increase I can remember. Historically, Apple’s moves to dual then triple rear cameras and the addition of a high refresh rate display have all added cost, but not a 3x multiple.
All of which adds to the narrative that Apple will increase iPhone prices by $100 for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, while the new iPhone 14 Max will be at least $200 more than the iPhone 13 Mini that it replaces.
On the flip side, following multiple reports that the standard iPhone 14 will be little more than a (potentially controversial) rehash of the iPhone 13, the leap in front camera quality could be one of the phone’s biggest selling points. Especially with the take-off in video calling in recent years.
Revelations that Apple surprisingly plans to switch the iPhone lineup to USB-C in 2023 and redesign base models mean I still think this is a bad year to upgrade. But for determined upgraders, things have just got a little better.
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