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Sony CEO accidentally outs possible 8MP camera in iPhone 5

iPhone 5
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Possible details about Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5 have emerged from an unlikely source: Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer.

While speaking with the Wall Street Journal‘s Walt Mossberg at a forum at New York City’s Carnegie Hall on Friday, Stringer made an off-handed comment that may indicate that the next-generation iPhone will come loaded with an 8MP camera — a significant boost from the iPhone 4’s 5MP camera.

The comment was made by the Sony CEO while he was talking about the one of the company’s plants Senai being damaged by the tsunami that hit Japan last month. So far, Apple has sourced mobile cameras from OmniVision, which provided the 5MP camera for iPhone 4 and the 3.2MP camera for the 3GS. But if interpretations of Stringer’s comment are correct, it would indicate that Apple may start buying cameras from Sony.

“Our best sensor technology is built in one of the (tsunami) affected factories,” said Stringer (as paraphrased by 9to5Mac founder Seth Weintraub, who caught the quote). “Those go to Apple for their iPhones…or iPads.  Isn’t that something?  They buy our best sensors from us?”

According to Electronista, interpretations that Sony is taking over Apple’s camera production are corroborated by a rumors in February that Sony was stepping in because OmniVision couldn’t have an 8MP camera sensor ready in time for Apple’s launch date. Also, Sony’s sensor, which is currently used in its Xperia Neo handset, would meet Apple’s demands of quality over megapixel quantity with its low-light, low-noise capabilities.

As 9to5Mac points out, The Street reported in April 2010 that Apple would adopt Sony’s 8MP camera for the iPhone 5. This was included in the same report that correctly predicted a 5MP camer for the iPhone 4.

Damages to Sony’s Sendai plant — which is located in one of the areas hardest hit by the devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami — could also explain why Apple is said not to be debuting the iPhone 5 during its WWDC on June 6, which has been the release event for Apple’s latest iPhone since its release of the iPhone 3G in 2008.

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Andrew Couts
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Features Editor for Digital Trends, Andrew Couts covers a wide swath of consumer technology topics, with particular focus on…
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