Apple just bought an Israel-based camera company called LinX for an estimated $20 million, as the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
LinX’s technology won’t only enable the iPhone to take better, sharper images — it could also allow the phone to capture three-dimensional photos, eliminate an annoying aesthetic problem where the cameras on the latest iPhones stick out, and solve a bunch of other problems, according to analysts from Macquarie:
Macquarie writes (emphasis ours):
LinX is an Israeli CCM maker with leading technologies in multiple sensors, which provides better performance in terms of low light shooting, HDR, refocusing, color fidelity, and shutter lag…Apple should be able to reduce the height of CCM by replacing one large sensor with multiple smaller ones (so no more protruding cameras), reduce noise, improve sensitivity and sharpness in a low-light environment, and enable 3-D object modeling.
In other words, it sounds like LinX’s technology would enable Apple to improve the quality of the iPhone’s camera without having it protrude from the back of the device like it does on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
The analysts also note that the iPhone 7 could come with a “duo cam” feature thanks to LinX, which sounds similar to what the HTC One M8 already offers. This means that the phone would come with more than one camera sensor, so that it could captures depth of field images that look three dimensional, and you’d be able to add effects like blurring the background.
Although there’s no indication that Apple will use LinX’s technology for any of its products, the reported acquisition comes as the competition is making improvements to their smartphone cameras, too. The camera on the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, for example, takes much better low-light images than the Galaxy S5 and can track subjects as they move.