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iPhone 5 rumoured to have improved camera flash

The iPhone 5 may have an improved LED flash unit to accompany its camera, as rumours suggest Apple is reducing orders for the current unit used in the iPhone 4.

Apple's next iPhone could have an improved flash unit for its camera according to industry rumours that suggest the company has reduced orders for the iPhone 4's current LED flash, AppleInsider reports.

There has been plenty of speculation about the iPhone 5 getting a camera upgrade. While the iPhone 4's 5-megapixel camera is much better than the crappy webcam-like snapper found on earlier models, it still lags behind the 8-megapixel sensors which are now a common feature on smart phones.

We'd heard rumours that Sony would provide Apple with image sensors for subsequent iPhones, but that was potentially scuppered when examination of iOS 5 found references to the same 5-megapixel camera found on the current model.

That doesn't mean the flash unit won't be upgraded. The iPhone currently uses a combined camera and flash component but last month we saw pictures suggesting the sensor and flash unit would be separated. Moving the flash further from the lens as well as updating its design could improve photo quality, albeit marginally. It's also good news for case manufacturers who can rush out products for the new design.

The grapevine hasn't provided us with any information about who might be supplying these LED flash units instead. If rumours of a 7 September release date is true, and high-level executives are already walking around with it, we presume the component changes have already been made. Apple is used to working to tight deadlines, but we may now only be three months away from an iPhone 5 unveiling.

While improved photo editing and panoramic photos will be nifty, we're not getting over-excited about a flash upgrade. Mobile phones are solely responsible for the current plague of washed-out photographs of tech journalists drunk people in nightclubs. Those photos would be so much more flattering if taken with a proper camera and decent flashgun. We find the LEDs much more useful as a torch.