Apple scraps plans for supercharged iPhone camera sensor

iPhone camera
Quantum dot technology was reportedly too pricey.
Photo: Apple

Apple has cancelled a contract with British company Nanoco. The company was working on technology that could have improved future iPhone cameras.

Nanoco is a leader in so-called “quantum dot” technology. This allows camera sensors to gather light with more efficiency than traditional silicon. However, Apple reportedly ditched plans after finding that the sensors would be too expensive to produce.

According to The Telegraph newspaper, the deal was worth tens of millions of dollars. In addition to producing higher quality photos, the technology could have improved the iPhone’s AR capabilities. The newspaper continues that:

“Nanoco first announced its contract with a ‘large, undisclosed US listed corporation’ in 2018, and said in January the contract had been renewed for another year. The deal included the customer funding the expansion of the British firm’s production facilities in Cheshire, and was worth [17.1 million pounds ($21.7 million)] over two years, more than half of its revenues.”

While Apple was never confirmed to be the unnamed customer, it is thought that this is the case. News of the cancelled bid caused Nanoco’s shares to fall by a massive 74%.

Having ditched its quantum dot investigations, Apple is now working on new laser-powered 3D scanning tech. This will debut with the 2020 iPhone. It is reportedly intended to help improve the device’s augmented reality features.

Source: Telegraph (paywall)

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