Apple Gives South Korean Suppliers First Chance to Provide iPhone 14 Front Camera Components: Report

BY Chandraveer Mathur

Published 23 May 2022

iPhone 14 camera

Rumor has it that Apple’s upcoming iPhone 14 will sport a high-end front-facing camera with autofocus. A South Korean supply chain report suggests that this might also be the first time Apple sources camera components from a supplier in the country.

For the iPhone 14, Apple has reportedly decided to source camera components from South Korea-based LG Innotek instead of preferring its usual Chinese suppliers. Korea IT News reports that Apple partners have been notified of this change in supplier. Japanese firm Sharp is also one of the suppliers for the iPhone 14 FaceTime camera. Notably, LG Innotek is already an Apple supplier for rear-facing cameras.

Apple was reportedly planning to transition from Chinese to Korean suppliers while developing the iPhone 15. However, the company has moved the plan forward by a year due to quality concerns with the Chinese suppliers. The company hastened the transition because it now classifies the FaceTime camera of the iPhone 14 as a “high-end” component. However, the South Korean parts are expected to cost the company thrice as much as the Chinese ones, primarily due to “advancement in functions” such as autofocus.

The report adds that LG Innotek is set to mint trillions off its position as Apple’s FaceTime camera supplier. The company’s financial benefits from the change are also helped by its move to internalize the production of crucial camera hardware it used to previously source and assemble before shipping to Apple.

“In addition to modules, LG Innotek has internalized some key optical parts such as Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) parts, camera PCBs, and actuators. Until now, LG Innotek’s partners have supplied the optical parts, which were then assembled into modules by LG, before being supplied to Apple.”

The report’s claims corroborate previous rumors from reputed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. He said the iPhone 14 would be the first iPhone with an autofocus FaceTime camera. Kuo added that all four upcoming iPhone 14 models would sport the upgraded front camera with a wider f/1.9 aperture.

In theory, a wider aperture allows more light to enter the lens, allowing the sensor to capture more data per pixel. Another benefit of the wider aperture is the shallower depth of field, characterized by a crisp focus on the subject and beautiful background blur. With support for autofocus, the iPhone 14 front-facing camera could be one to reckon with.

Meanwhile, LG Innotek is gearing up for mass production ahead of the iPhone 14’s debut in September this year.

[Via Korea IT News]