updated 06:10 pm EDT, Thu August 25, 2011
OmniVision outlook hints Apple supplier switch
OmniVision may have lent support to hints that Sony is making iPhone cameras. The sensor company was expecting its revenue for the fall to drop compared to the summer to between $255 million and $275 million, considerably below the $306 million average that industry analysts had been expecting. No context was given for the prediction.
The discrepancy is unusual as it flies against an expected OmniVision pattern. As the main supplier for cameras in the current iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch lines, it often sees an upswing just after Apple introduces a new device or in the early stages, when it has to ramp up production. Lower revenue is an indication that at least one company, possibly Apple, has reduced its orders.
Executives at OmniVision often try to avoid naming customers as much as possible. The most recent rumors surrounding its deals have pointed to it losing 10 percent of iPhone 5 orders as Sony ends up producing enough to help Apple make its shipment targets. Both OmniVision and Sony should be making eight-megapixel camera sensors with good low light performance, although a split could create an unusual problem with photo quality that could differ slightly from phone to phone.
Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer publicly claimed that Apple was buying 'all' of its supply and compounding shortages that at the time were sparked by the northern Japan earthquake. Little has surfaced from either Sony or OmniVision since then. [via Barron's]