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Bonjour, Siri! Apple looks to France for new imaging tech lab

One of the most sought-after smartphone components nowadays is the camera (or in some cases, cameras). What was once considered a luxury feature is now a mainstay within the smartphone market. It only makes sense then that smartphone manufacturers continue to improve camera capabilities from one generation to the next. But how to stay abreast, or keep advancing the state of the art?

Apple is looking to get a head start on the next wave of imaging technology with the help of a new research and development center, according to reports. The company has signed contracts to open an imaging technology research and development lab in Grenoble, France, claims French newspaper Le Dauphiné Libéré. The building is roughly 800 square meters and will hold a team of 30 or so engineers, the paper claims, as well as the accompanying machinery to develop and test new imaging technologies.

The location of the building is believed to have been chosen by Apple because it will provide a more streamlined collaboration with French-Italian electronics manufacturer STMicroelectronics, which has supplied various pieces for Apple products in the past, and is expected to play a role in creating sensors for future iOS devices.

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A team of Apple employees have been working inside the Minatec European Research Center for the past year, but it seems Apple isn’t happy sharing its space. By building its own lab, Apple will be able to keep its secrets under wrap and further push the imaging boundaries of future products.

Apple usually has components for future products laid out far in advance, so it’s not likely the impending iPhone 7 will have any elements designed inside the new research and development lab — but it’s very likely future iOS devices will.