iPhone 5S teardown: New Sony camera sensor inside

The iPhone 5S has a great camera. Behind every great camera is a great sensor. In this case from Sony.

iPhone 5S camera. It has a new 8MP sensor, with bigger pixels. It also has an increased aperture of f/2.2.
iPhone 5S camera. It has a new 8MP sensor, with bigger pixels. It also has an increased aperture of f/2.2. Apple

Among the highlights of iFixit's teardown of the iPhone 5S is a new Sony sensor for the 5S' boffo camera.

Apple has gone with a "new variant" of the Sony sensor, as it did in the iPhone 5, according to iFixit.

The...markings are consistent with the markings on the camera modules housing the Sony IMX145 we saw in the iPhone 4s and on the iPhone 5. The marks on the side of the module are different, but our industry insiders tell us this is Sony's again...As Apple has stated the pixel pitch on this camera is 1.5 µ, this sensor should not be the IMX145, but a newer variant."
New Sony camera sensor in the iPhone 5S, courtesy of iFixit.
New Sony camera sensor in the iPhone 5S, courtesy of iFixit. iFixit

Apple's iPhone 5S camera improves on the already-great iPhone 5 camera, according to CNET.

"All you can really count on for sure with the iPhone 5S is that it has a noticeably better camera...Close-up photos show off pretty incredible detail and a shallower depth-of-field effect, which feels more "SLR-like," CNET said about the 5S' 8MP camera.

The iPhone 5S' home button with its fingerprint sensor.
The iPhone 5S' home button with its fingerprint sensor. iFixit

iFixit's intrepid teardown experts also took on the new sapphire home button and its fingerprint scanner.

"A CMOS chip, the Touch ID is essentially a bunch of very small capacitors that creates an 'image' of the ridges on your finger," iFixit wrote.

"We worry about how well the sapphire crystal covering the sensor can protect it from degrading over time like most CMOS fingerprint sensors," iFixit added.

Not everything went swimmingly in the teardown, though.

"Perhaps the 's' in 5s stands for 'stuck,' as in 'this battery is stuck in with a lot of glue,' " said iFixit. In other words, good luck replacing the battery.

The 64-bit Apple A7 chip, which is proving to be one of the fastest smartphone chips to date based on benchmarks.
The 64-bit Apple A7 chip, which is proving to be one of the fastest smartphone chips to date based on benchmarks. iFixit
About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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