Apple’s Latest Acquisition Means Big News For The iPhone’s Camera

Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
From time to time, Apple buys other companies, usually because they have talented employees and/or crazy-cool technologies Apple wants for itself. Apple's latest acquisition, Israeli company LynX Imaging, happens to be the latter scenario: LynX builds advanced mobile-camera technology that could utterly transform the iPhone's camera quality. More specifically, LynX makes multi-aperture camera equipment. So, instead of having one hole (aperture) that light shines through to capture an image, LynX closely sets two, three, or four together to capture a single image from slightly different angles. Software stitches the images seamlessly together for a photo that has depth — that is, it's a 3D image. LynX's camera technology also features improved light sensitivity, less noise, faster exposure, and better photo quality in low light (something that Apple competitors like Nokia have gotten very good at) that's close to SLR level. On top of that, the company's product is half as thick as a traditional smartphone camera module — and you know how much Apple loves making its products thinner and thinner.  Put that all together, and we've got a good picture of what a future iPhone camera will be able to offer: a slimmer form factor, 3D images that show depth, and better quality in dimly lit situations. It's possible that this technology (or something similar) could arrive as soon as the next iPhone this fall. The iPhone 6S is rumored to have "the biggest camera jump ever" over its predecessor. This would largely be due to a dual-lens setup, much like the technology LynX Imaging offers. Often, the "S" version of an iPhone only features minimal hardware updates, but with added TouchID in the iPhone 5S, and now the possibility of a seriously souped-up camera in the 6S, Apple seems to be ditching that trend (woe betide our wallets).  The LynX acquisition, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, cost Apple roughly $20 million. 

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