Apple is likely to procure optical image stabilization (OIS) actuators from South Korea’s Jahwa Electronics, a component supplier to Samsung, for new iPhones launching in 2022, TheElec has learned.
Cupertino recently wrapped up the review of Jahwa’s OIS factory, people familiar with the matter said.
The South Korean firm offers an integrated actuator that combines OIS with auto-focus.
This actuator is combined with an image sensor and a substrate to become a camera module for smartphones.
Jahwa’s OIS will be likely used in the telephoto camera on the iPhone. Telephoto cameras pull the subject of the photo in, which requires stabilization.
If Jahwa passes Apple’s final review, which seems highly likely, it will be an important new revenue stream.
The South Korean firm entered Samsung’s supply chain for smartphone cameras near the end of 2019. However, the company exited the business in the first half of 2020 due to lower than expected profitability.
Jahwa had said it planned to focus on components such as OIS and AF instead.
Jahwa likely gained patent approval from Samsung and Samsung Electro-Mechanics prior to its attempt to enter Apple’s supply chain.
Its OIS technology was developed together with Samsung and Samsung Electro-Mechanics.
The potential deal with Apple also means Samsung Electro-Mechanics’ folded zoom technology may very well be used by Cupertino.
Samsung has been using the technology since last year for its telephoto cameras on premium smartphones.
Majority of patents related to folded zoom is owned by Corephotonics, which was acquired by Samsung in 2019.
People familiar with the matter said it will be very difficult for Apple to avoid using the patents if it wanted to apply folded zoom technology on the cameras of iPhones.
Apple would have to have its long-time camera module supplier LG InnoTek to procure related components such as actuator for folded zoom from Samsung Electro-Mechanics to minimize potential patent risks, they said.
It is also possible that the iPhone maker could have Jahwa supply its OIS actuator to Samsung Electro-Mechanics for the folded zoom camera, they added.
Corephotonics is still involved in patent lawsuits with Apple in the US and with LG InnoTek in South Korea.
Last year, camera module components accounted for 85% of Jahwa’s sales.