Omnivision makes image sensors for the iPhone. They're pretty good. Their latest sensor uses a new 1.1-micron pixel architecture that makes it "20 per cent slimmer than any 8-megapixel module in commercial use today". Meaning it can fit in the super-cramped spaces available in ultra-thin phones.
Omnivision's also promising "significant improvements in power efficiency and image quality" with the OmniBS-2 pixel architecture, with a "20 per cent improvement in peak quantum efficiency in all colour channels, a 35 per cent improvement in low-light sensitivity and a 45 per cent increase in full-well capacity." And it fits in a tiny, tiny space: the autofocus camera module's just 8.5mm x 8.5mm, with a build height of 4.7mm.
(That's still bigger than the crummy camera shoved into the iPod touch, which is 6.5mm x 6.5mm, and 3.3mm tall — so maybe don't expect the iPod touch or iPad cameras to get too much awesomer any time soon.)
Overall, it sounds dandy on paper — anything that'll theoretically let stupid thin phones take stupid good pictures — but the real question is how the photos are gonna look. Mass production starts next year, so if it makes into a future iPhone we'll have to wait for until the iPhone 6 to see. [Omnivision, PR Newswire via MacRumors]