During a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer may have inadvertently slipped that Sony plans to supply Apple with 8 megapixel cameras for the iPhone 5. While discussing the Japanese earthquake and resulting tsunami, Stringer noted that Sony's camera sensor plant in Sendai had been affected and that shipments of 8MP camera sensors to Apple were subsequently delayed. Here's the excerpt in question:
Early on, he raised the irony of Sony supplying camera components for Apple devices. It "always puzzles me," he said. "Why would I make Apple the best camera?" It is unclear what devices he was talking about as Sony isn't known to supply key camera components, known as image sensors, to Apple; A Sony spokeswoman declined to comment and an Apple spokesperson couldn't be reached for comment.
Apple has never used Sony as a camera supplier for the iPhone, relying instead on sensors sourced from Omnivision. An April 2010 report from The Street said that the iPhone 4 would have a 5MP sensor and that the fifth generation iPhone would feature an 8MP camera from Sony.
As we know, the former came to pass, and now it looks increasingly possible that the latter will as well. It's rumored that the iPhone 5 is delayed till next year, and this may be one of the reasons why.
At the same time, the Chinese Apple.pro blog is reporting that Apple may be putting a camera into its seventh-generation iPod nano while still keeping the current model's size and display. Maybe Sony will manufacture three sensors for that device as well?