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Apple turns to Samsung for new iPhone 16 camera sensors

Rendered iPhone 16 Pro models

After exclusively using Sony for its iPhone camera image sensors, Apple has is said to have begun final quality testing on models from Samsung for the iPhone 16 range.

Reportedly, there were sufficient delays from Sony over supplying its image sensors, that in late 2023, Apple asked Samsung to begin developing a CIS. The delays were enough that they gave Apple problems scheduling the launch of the iPhone 15.

Where the current CIS systems used two wafers that saw the photodiode and transistors sharing one, the new system will have three separate wafers. The practical effect is that there should be reduced noise on images, and pixels can be smaller than before.

Assuming Samsung’s CIS is approved, it will mean Sony losing its status as exclusive supplier for image sensors on the iPhone. Separately, Sony also lost its exclusive status as provider of screens for the Apple Vision Pro, because it reportedly refused to increase production capacity.

Note that The Elec tends to be a reasonably good source of information regarding supply chain issues. It has a poorer track record in extrapolating Apple’s plans from the information it receives, but this particular report appears to be more the former than the latter.