iPhone 12 camera lenses – quality problem found in testing

Noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is reporting that a quality problem has emerged during testing of iPhone 12 camera lenses from one of Apple’s suppliers. Coatings on the wide-angle lenses were found to have cracked.

The problem was spotted during a high-temperature, high-humidity test designed to ensure that the cameras can cope with use in tropical climates …

The issues occurred with the camera modules destined for the non-Pro 5.4-inch and 6.1-inch models, with units made by Yujingguang. It’s not yet known whether the company will be able to fix the problem in time for the launch.

The good news is that the issue is not expected to further delay the launch of the iPhone 12. The report says that lenses made by Apple’s other supplier, Largan, have passed the test, and the company is expected to be able to boost production to fill the gap. Apple has already confirmed that the iPhone 12 will go on sale ‘a few weeks later‘ than usual.

While Apple will undoubtedly not be impressed by the failure in the iPhone 12 camera lenses, there may be an upside to it. Kuo believes that the lens supplier will be forced to offer Apple a substantial discount on the agreed price in order to win back the business. It’s believed Apple normally pays around $2 to $2.20 for the lenses, and that Yujingguang may be forced to offer them for as little as $1.50 if it wants orders to proceed once it has fixed the problem.

The report also implies that the non-Pro iPhone 12 models may go on sale ahead of the Pro versions.

A Digitimes report earlier in the week suggested that Apple was planning a two-stage launch, with the two 6.1-inch models going on sale first.

Apple may launch its 5G iPhones in two stages, with two 6.1-inch models in the first and another two 6.7- and 5.4-inch devices in the second, the sources said, adding that suppliers of SLP (substrate-like PCB) mainboards for the former models have recently kicked off shipments, with those for the latter to start in late August.

However, Kuo’s report indicates that production of the 5.4-inch and lower-end 6.1-inch model is proceeding simultaneously. This suggests that we might see the lower-end models going on sale first, and the Pro ones later. This would seem a more logical approach, and Kuo is the more reliable source, so it does appear the more likely bet.

As testing and production progress, further supply-chain leaks are likely. We yesterday saw what is claimed to be an OLED panel for one of the models, though it didn’t reveal anything interesting.

Dummy model image: Marques Brownlee

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