It seems that every other month or so Apple announce a new software or hardware innovation that keeps them firmly at the forefront of the technologies market. It is easy for followers of technology then to feel that new advances are now a formality and not as exciting as they were. This, however, is not the case as there have been several exciting pieces of software, and hardware, that have been introduced to the public over the last year, not the least of these being the camera on the iPhone 4.
When announcing the iPhone 4 and its latest features, Steve Jobs was visibly proud of the camera attached to the phone. The fact is that, usually, camera’s on phones are decent for taking the odd casual snaps but do not measure up to even the low grade compact cameras currently on sale. Phone manufacturers have rushed to increase the amount of megapixels that their camera can utilise in order to impress customers but this really does no good as the chips that run the majority of phone cameras are too small for this to make any real difference. This is where Jobs sees the difference between his phone and the average phone as he has not only increased the amount of megapixels from 3 to 5 but has also increased the chip’s processing speed.
The new iPhone’s chip has pixels that measure 1.75 µm (Micrometres) and if we take this to represent the camera’s pixel pitch this compares favourably to other phones on the market. Considering most compact phones at the moment offer around 2µm, the iPhone looks like to have a decent camera even compared to specialist hardware.
Another aspect of the camera which Jobs seemed specifically excited about was the “backside illuminated sensor” of which he talked about greatly. This is one of the latest advancements used in high end cameras and involves the chip having its circuitry on the back of its chip allowing the sensor to be extra sensitive allowing better low light performances. These advances and a host of others are ensuring that Apple are at the forefront of camera phone technology.