Date
21 October 2019
The iPhone 11 Pro has a triple-camera setup that can take normal, telephoto zoom and ultrawide shots, and work in extremely low light conditions. Photo: AFP
The iPhone 11 Pro has a triple-camera setup that can take normal, telephoto zoom and ultrawide shots, and work in extremely low light conditions. Photo: AFP

Can triple camera system boost iPhone sales?

Apple has unveiled its latest iPhones, which will be available from Friday. But many smartphone users are likely to adopt a wait-and-see attitude as they want to see first the Android smartphones that will be launched later this month.

Apple, nonetheless, is confident that its new triple-camera system is a killer application certain to lure those planning to upgrade their current handsets.

As in previous launches, the company will launch three iPhone models to tap different market segments.

The iPhone 11, which has a 6.1-inch screen and is available in six colors, will sell from HK$6,000. The company is also introducing the “Pro” series for its premium units, the latest being the iPhone 11 Pro. The Pro series includes the 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch models.

The Pro series has almost the same hardware specifications as the other iPhone 11 models: they all run on Apple’s A13 chip. But while the other iPhone 11 models use a dual-camera system, the iPhone 11 Pro has a triple-camera setup.

The multi-camera system is already very common among Android smartphones, but the triple-camera system is a key selling point for iPhone given Apple’s capability in image processing.

Some market watchers are not convinced that the new iPhone series will be runaway bestsellers, mainly because the new models lack 5G network compatibility.

However, many smartphone users are not bothered whether or not a model has 5G capability because they plan to stick with their mobile operators’ 4G plans. Besides, the 5G network infrastructure is just starting to be built. 

The iPhone 11 Pro’s triple-camera system has three 12-megapixel sensors, each tied to a different type of lens.

The main camera has an aperture of f/1.8. The telephoto shooter offers a 2X optical zoom; it has an aperture of f/2.0, up from f/2.4 in last year’s flagship, to let in more light. The third camera has an ultrawide lens that delivers a 120-degree field of view, equivalent to a 0.5X zoom.

Most Apple fans have nothing but praises for the camera quality of iPhones. But Android rivals have been investing massively on camera and imaging technologies. Huawei, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Samsung now claim that the camera quality of their phones has outperformed that of iPhone in the past few years.

Apple, aside from offering an ultrawide camera, enhances its image processing technology with the launch of a night mode. This feature has been a feature of the current set of Android smartphones.

Critics like the night mode of the iPhone 11 Pro camera system. The new camera certainly takes sharper, better pictures of night scenes than previous iPhone models.

The camera demonstrates how hardware and software integration is able to correct distortions resulting from photos taken in extremely low light conditions.

What is likely to win fans’ plaudits is the user interface for the iPhone’s night mode camera. The night mode is triggered automatically based on the shooting conditions. The phone tells you how long the exposure will have to be before you even press the shutter button, then a countdown commences as the night mode shot is captured.

The latest iPhone also offers a new viewfinder experience: it shows other zoom perspectives in the overflow area behind the controls to give the user a sense of what a wider vantage point can offer.

In fact, we can say that iPhone’s triple-camera system is quite different from what we have seen in most Android smartphones.

In Android phones, the triple cameras do not work simultaneously when the user presses the shutter. The phone will only take a picture using one of the three cameras. For example, the phone will only use the telephoto lens for a zoom-in photo.

But in the case of the iPhone 11 Pro, the three cameras work together to achieve the best photo quality. This, according to Apple, is the result of intense collaboration among the chip, sensor and camera software teams.

Initial market responses in the United States and China are beating expectations, especially from the Chinese who are still using the iPhone 6 series.

Does this mean that Apple will finally be able to recover from the lackluster market sentiment for its current iPhones? We’ll see.

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EJ Insight writer