In a note to clients — as noted by MacRumors — Barclays analysts Blayne Curtis and Thomas O’Malley say all four iPhone 13 models (or perhaps they’ll be dubbed “iPhone 12S” if Apple’s superstitious) will feature an upgraded Ultra Wide camera lens with a wider ƒ/1.8 aperture, compared to ƒ/2.4 on iPhone 12 models.
They also think that the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s upgraded Telephoto lens will expand to the standard iPhone 13 Pro, with a 65mm focal length and ƒ/2.2 aperture.
On the other hand, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a very good track record when it comes to his predictions, said in January that iPhone camera lenses may not see significant hardware updates through at least 2022, though he had previously predicted enhancements to the ultrawide and telephone lenses.
Why? A price war between lens suppliers such as Largan and Genius Electronic Optical.
“We predict that Largan will bargain the ASP of iPhone mid-to-high-end lenses by about 15-25% in 1H21 in order to increase its capacity utilization rate,” Kuo wrote to clients. “Yujingguang’s [Genius Electronic Optical’s] order proportion, capacity utilization rate and gross profit margin will be directly affected. The impact of the price war will begin in January 2021, and Yujingguang’s January revenue may only grow in single-digit YoY or even decline.”
The Sellers Research Group (that’s me) thinks Kuo may be correct. However, even if there are no hardware improvements in upcoming iPhones, Apple could still implement various software upgrades to their camera features.