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LG Innotek supplies 'folded camera' to Apple. Samsung Electro-Mechanics, which was interested in Apple and whether to supply folded cameras, is focusing on Samsung Electronics.

LG Innotek started developing Apple's folded camera. It was decided as a task for next year, and manpower in charge of thishas been formed. The camera is expected to be installed into the iPhone between 2022 and 2023. Although several processes remain until the final application. Innotek, Apple's largest partner in the field of optics,is starting the project with Apple to install Innotek’s folded camera onto the new Apple devices.

The folded camera was first applied to Samsung Electronics' smartphone (Galaxy S20 Ultra) released in January last year. Samsung Electronics secured core technology by acquiring Israel’s Core Photonics, and Samsung Electro-Mechanics developed and commercialized a folded camera module. Since Samsung is evaluated as possessing the core technology of the folded camera, the possibility of cooperation with Apple was raised. Eventually, Samsung Electro-Mechanics started supplying camera lenses to Apple, and the industry's attention was focused on whether the two companies would succeed in supplying the folded cameras.

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<Apple iPhone 13. Photo=Electronic Newspaper DB>

However, cooperation between Samsung and Apple did not materialize. Although Samsung Electro-Mechanics was interested to supply to Apple, they decided to focus more on Samsung Electronics, which is in their same group and a strategic customer.Industry official said, "It is not easy to differentiate products from each company due to numerous upgrades of smartphones, and specifically with cameras, since the camera is one of the most important function for consumers.”

Although the Samsung Electro-Mechanics deal with Apple did not materialize, there is a possibility that the market expansion effect will be seen by Apple's adoption of a folded camera. Apple has a strong influence on the smartphone market, so other smartphone makers will follow suite and adopt the technology or parts adopted by Apple.

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<Folded camera structure. Source=Samsung Electro-Mechanics>

<Glossary> Folded camera = A telephoto camera module that uses refraction of light like a periscope. Unlike the existing camera module in which the lens and image sensor are arranged vertically, the focal length is increased by arranging the lens and image sensor horizontally. Simply put, it is a camera with enhanced optical zoom while minimizing the effect on the thickness of the smartphone. When the lenses and sensors are stacked vertically, the camera module becomes thicker as the zoom is increased to 5x or 10x, which interferes with the design of the smartphone.

By Staff Reporter Gun-il Yoon