Analyst: an iPhone 7 Plus will incorporate LinX technology

In a note to clients — as noted by MacRumors — KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says he thinks that Apple is working on two 5.5-inch versions of an "iPhone 7 Plus”: one with a single iSight rear-facing camera and another with a dual-camera design. 

A smartphone with a dual-lens camera system could take advantage of imaging algorithms Apple acquired when it bought LinX, an Israeli camera tech company, for about US$20 million in 2015.

In 2014, LinX said it had "successfully developed" miniature multi-aperture cameras designed for mobile devices. The camera modules are nearly half the height of a standard mobile camera and are capable of "creating stunning color images and high accuracy depth maps," the company claims.

The LinX cameras are purportedly artifact-free, even when objects appear at very short range. During the registration process between the images, the LinX software extracts depth information for each pixel and creates a depth map. The software creates true depth information on high contrast objects and on near flat surfaces, such as walls, which are traditionally considered difficult for passive stereo systems. The accuracy and resolution of details in distance maps created the opportunity to use the suggested algorithms for 3D reconstruction.

There’ve been rumors that next gen iPhones will offer even better dual-lens camera technology, perhaps on a par with SLR cameras. The LinX purchase could be a means to this end.

Kuo cites the LinX Imaging algorithm for its unique ability to achieve high-end dual-camera applications such as optical zoom simulation while sidestepping the traditional bottlenecks associated with compact camera module (CCM) assembly. The analyst predicts a 2-3x optical zoom function in an iPhone 7 Plus. 

However, owing to supply chain constraints on dual-camera modules, Kuo expects the larger handset to come in single-camera and dual-camera versions, according to MacRumors. The analyst feels a 4.7-inch "iPhone 7" will feature the usual iSight rear-facing camera.

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