While the Apple masses continue to bask in the glory of the iPhone’s much improved camera, not to mention its new ability to record video, a recent development might shed some light on what features Apple might include in future iterations of the iPhone.
Imagine shooting 1080p quality video right from your iPhone.
OmniVision, the company that supplies Apple with the 3 megapixel cameras it uses in the iPhone 3GS, announced on Thursday that its latest 5 megapixel OV5650 Image Sensor for mobile phones is capable of capturing HD video in 1080p quality at 30 frames per second. At 720p, still HD mind you, the sensor can capture video at 60 frames per second.
As it stands now, the current iPhone 3GS records video in VGA quality at 30 fps, but as was reported last week, an examination of the iPhone 3GS processor revealed that it was in fact capable of capturing video in 720p. Apple presumably didn’t enable 720p because doing so would put the processor through the ringer and obliterate battery life in the process. Also, HD video isn’t too storage friendly, and with the maximum capacity iPhone coming in at 32GB these days, concerns about the practicality of 720p were probably taken into consideration as well. Luckily, by the time the new sensors begin shipping, the above issues will undoubtedly be less of an impediment.
Also, if Apple ever gets around to releasing its much rumored tablet, storage space and room for a decent sized battery will be even less than an issue than it is for the iPhone.
We should point out that while the difference in quality between 720p and 1080p is negligible on HDTV’s smaller than 42 inches, the potential to record full HD quality video from an iPhone and upload it to your computer for editing and/or send it directly to your >40 inch HDTV is particularly intriguing.
OmniVision expects that production of its new sensor will commence towards the end of 2009, and anticipates that mobile phones will begin sporting them sometime in 2010.
As a point of interest, OmniVision noted in a recent presentation that while the current trend in mobile phones is 2 megapixel sensors, 5 megapixel sensors will begin to emerge as a “volume leader in 2011”.