Cupertino was reportedly working with U.K.-based Nanoco, a company that’s invested heavily in the research and development around quantum dot applications. It was never explicitly disclosed that Nanoco had a contract with Apple, though last year the supplier did say it had entered into an agreement with a "large, undisclosed U.S. listed corporation," and that the deal was worth nearly $22 million.
You’ve likely heard of quantum dot technology referenced in relation to the latest 4K TVs, monitors and mobile displays. Apple was reportedly investigating using it to power Apple Watch’s tiny screen, and may still eventually. The prime benefit is purity and accuracy of color, and that applies to imaging as well.
Eventually, Apple and its competitors will likely start employing quantum dot technology at a large scale. But as for right now, you won’t see it underpin the cameras in upcoming iPhones. The Telegraph reports that the technology may have debuted in Apple’s new handsets arriving "as soon as this year," though we don’t precisely know the timeframe at work here.
When Nanoco announced late last week that its unnamed client abandoned the project, the firm’s valuation took a nosedive, plunging from to £94 million to £24 million.
While it’s somewhat disappointing that 2019’s iPhone may not bring about a major shift in camera hardware, Apple is still a leader in mobile imaging right now — even if Google and Huawei have one-upped it recently. The successor to the iPhone XS has been rumored to feature a trio of cameras, and while we're not entirely sure what the additional lens in this year's device might do, we have heard that the 2020 iteration will employ a 3D, laser-scanning sensor. Today's quantum dot news doesn’t doom the next iPhone’s photography capabilities, though it might delay innovation down the line.