The design language of smartphone components is continuously changing and evolving with the implementation of new technologies. The pressure to be innovative can stem from competitors and the growing boredom and reluctance from customers to upgrade their devices as often as they used to.
The quest to have the best smartphone camera has forced smartphone manufacturers to rethink their previous strategy of having small and minimalist cameras on the rears of their handsets. Google and Apple have had a different approach to their camera functionality. Apple has embraced a hardware-based approach featuring dual lenses and proximity sensors. Google, on the other hand, has used a software-based method utilizing artificial intelligence to tweak and enhance the quality of photos shot on their phone. Apple uses AI as well for its camera sensors but not as focused as Google’s model.
At this point, it seems Google has achieved the perfect balance between competent hardware and a heavy emphasis on AI-based photography to produce stunning results when taking pictures on their Pixel phones. While iPhones are certainly no slouch in the photography department, many agree that Google still holds the edge with camera features and photo quality. A prominent example of this is Google’s Night-Sight mode on their newer Pixel phones. The Night-Sight feature uses AI to take well-composed pictures in near black-out environments without the need for a flash.
Apple plans to try to even the score or even surpass Google by doubling down on its hardware strategy by adding another camera sensor to its next iPhone. This would give the top tier iPhone a total of three lenses on the rear. However, due to a recent leak and subsequent surprise confirmation by Google, Google also plans on adding another lens to its flagship for a grand total of two cameras on the rear with an unknown sensor.
Because of leaks, we now know that both Apple and Google have significant physical changes coming to their camera sensors. These new camera modules will be relatively large and square in shape. Impressions from the leaks and renders of the phones have been mixed, and sometimes leaning to the negative side of the fence due to differences in design preferences.
The jury is still out on what new advancements these new camera modules will bring, but I have to assume Apple and Google can justify the risk of an unpopular design by providing a significant upgrade to their current camera systems.