Front-facing cameras on smartphones can often feel a bit neglected, and the iPhone is no exception, as Apple hasn’t significantly upgraded the selfie cameras on these since the iPhone 11. But another big upgrade could be on the way.
This isn’t actually the first time they’ve said this, but in reiterating it now it shows they’re still confident of it. It’s something that we’ve also previously heard from other sources, so it seems likely.
That’s not the only upgrade the selfie camera might be getting though, as Kuo also claims that Apple is going to use a six-element lens, up from five elements on the iPhone 13 lens.
That refers to the number of individual glass parts within the lens, and while more isn’t necessarily better, it certainly can be, and likely would be in this case – especially as Kuo describes this change as an upgrade.
So it’s likely that the selfie camera on the iPhone 14 and its siblings will offer significantly improved performance over previous iPhones if this information is right.
Kuo also shared information on the suppliers tapped by Apple to build this new camera, which isn’t of much interest except that if Kuo has those details then it’s all the more believable that they’d know about any planned upgrades.
Analysis: autofocus vs fixed focus
According to Kuo, the move to autofocus will lead to “significantly improved selfie and video performance,” so the iPhone 14 should be a major improvement.
Current iPhones used fixed focus selfie cameras, which means that the lens can’t be adjusted, and - without the help of additional software - the amount of a scene that’s in focus is consistent across shots. With autofocus though you can optimize the focus for the type of shot you want to take. This allows for more varied shots, and potentially for improved sharpness.
There’s a tiny downside to autofocus in that it needs a split second to focus, while a fixed focus lens doesn’t, but for the most part autofocus is superior and more desirable.
However, it’s less essential on front-facing cameras than rear ones, since you’ll generally be taking the same sorts of shots from the same of distance, as most people will primarily be shooting selfies. Plus, software can pick up some of the slack.
But autofocus is still a good upgrade, and one that’s been a long time coming.
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James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.