Apple's quest for an ever-thinner iPhone has received a boost in the form of a new back-illuminated 13MP CMOS camera sensor from Sony.
Sony's new stacked chip design layers image sensors on top of the signal processing circuit.
This feat of technical wizardry's resulted in a sensor that's smaller and thinner than existing CMOS sensors – paving the way for a thinner iPhone 5.
That's assuming Apple uses the sensor, of course – 9to5Mac calls it a "natural fit" for the iPhone 5, pointing out that Sony manufactures the sensor found in the iPhone 4S. The sensor's design would also work well in combination with Apple's dual-core A5 processor – hiving off the imaging circuitry from the sensor would enable the A5 chip to take on more of the grunt work involved in image processing.
Expect to see an 8MP version of the sensor arriving in March, followed by a 13MP version in June. Here's a look at the new CMOS sensor's HDR Movie feature in action. It captures a foreground exposure and a background exposure simultaneously – handy for filming in bright light.
Of course, it's all a moot point if Apple decides to go down the road of fitting Lytro light field camera tech in the iPhone 5.