The real reason Apple dumbed-down the iPhone 7 camera

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Date: Thursday, August 18th, 2016, 08:00
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Opinion

I agree 100 percent with Chris Smith’s post on BGR about how the iPhone 7 is about to become inferior to the larger iPhone 7 Plus in a very significant way.

The iPhone 7 Plus' dual-camera vs the single camera in the 7. (Photo:

The iPhone 7 Plus’ dual-camera vs the single camera in the 7. (Photo:

I greatly prefer the 4.7-inch form factor iPhone and won’t buy the larger “Plus size” iPhone because it’s too bulky and it can’t be used with one hand. Plus, my iPad Pro and MacBook usually aren’t far away for when I need a larger screen.

In his article Smith lists several possible excuses Apple might trot out for omitting the dual-lens camera from the iPhone 7, but the real reason is after the jump.

Here’s Smith’s excuse list:

  • It’s too bulky

If Apple removes the headphone jack, shouldn’t this have created some additional room inside the device?

  • It will impact battery life

Apple could add a setting to turn off one of the cameras to save battery (which almost no one would use).

  • Supply concerns

Bullocks. Apple could use its significant influence to get the camera parts from suppliers, and if not, I have concerns about Cook’s reputation as “operational genius” and “master of the supply chain.”

  • It’s more expensive

Most likely true, but how much more expensive? The rear camera module in the iPhone 6s is estimate to cost $22.50. Does the dual-camera module cost 10, 50, 100 percent more? Apple could either, a) eat the increase, or b) increase the cost. Altough I think that Apple should eat the extra cost, I’d definitely pay as much as $50 more for the better camera).

This is where Smith nails it:

…Apple likes its high iPhone prices and its high iPhone margins.

Apple isn’t willing to absorb the additional cost of the better, dual-camera module in order to keep the base $549 price of the 4.7-inch iPhone. And by extension it is willing to punish its iPhone 7 customers with an inferior camera to protect its margins.

iPhone sales dropped 16 percent last quarter and the 4.7-inch iPhone outsells the 5.5-inch iPhone (by as much as by seven to one). What better way to jump start slumping revenue and profit? Nudge millions of (reluctant) iPhone 7 customers to buy the pricier iPhone 7 Plus for its better camera.


Update 2016-0808: If you share my concern about your next iPhone including a dumbed-down rear camera, take solace, it’ll probably include Optical Image Stabilization (OIS).

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