Here's what to expect from the next iPhone's camera, according to a person who's making it

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The iPhone 6S Launch Date Points to September the 18th.


The camera on the next iPhone will have a bigger sensor that can take in more light, and a lens that's designed to work with that improved sensor.

This means we can expect the iPhone 6S to capture higher quality photos than the iPhone 6.

Apple is currently ordering suppliers to produce five-element lenses for the iPhone 6S that are designed to work with 12-megapixel camera sensors, a person within Apple's supply chain told Business Insider. These components are said to be in the mass production stage and are on schedule, this source said.

This same person also said Apple is ordering six-element lenses for a future iPhone intended to be released after the iPhone 6S (presumably the iPhone 7).

We've been hearing for months that the iPhone 6S will come with a 12-megapixel camera, but we haven't heard much about what else to expect. Back in November, Daring Fireball blogger John Gruber said the next iPhone could come with the "biggest camera jump" we've seen in years.

Photos from last year's iPhone 6 reveal:

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Apple iPhone 6, smartwatch event - 9/09/2014 - Cupertino, California
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Here's what to expect from the next iPhone's camera, according to a person who's making it
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Apple CEO Tim Cook shows off the new iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple is expected to unveil the new iPhone 6 and wearble tech. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Apple CEO Tim Cook shows off the new iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple is expected to unveil the new iPhone 6 and wearble tech. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller talks about the new iPhone 6 during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple unveiled the two new iPhones the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the iPhone 6 during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple is expected to unveil the new iPhone 6 and wearble tech. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller talks about the new iPhone 6 during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple unveiled the two new iPhones the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Philip 'Phil' Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., speaks about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus during a product announcement at Flint Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Apple Inc. unveiled redesigned iPhones with bigger screens, overhauling its top-selling product in an event that gives the clearest sign yet of the company's product direction under Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple unveiled the Apple Watch wearable tech and two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple unveiled the Apple Watch wearable tech and two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple unveiled the Apple Watch wearable tech and two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: A video about the Apple Watch is shown during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple unveiled the Apple Watch wearable tech and two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, discusses the camera features on the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil SchillerÊannouncees the new iPhone 6 during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple unveiled the two new iPhones the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller announcees the new iPhone 6 during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple unveiled the two new iPhones the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller announcees the new iPhone 6 during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple unveiled the two new iPhones the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Philip 'Phil' Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., speaks about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus during a product announcement at Flint Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Apple Inc. unveiled redesigned iPhones with bigger screens, overhauling its top-selling product in an event that gives the clearest sign yet of the company's product direction under Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, discusses the camera features on the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, discusses the camera features on the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Philip 'Phil' Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., speaks about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus during a product announcement at Flint Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Apple Inc. unveiled redesigned iPhones with bigger screens, overhauling its top-selling product in an event that gives the clearest sign yet of the company's product direction under Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Philip 'Phil' Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., speaks about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus during a product announcement at Flint Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Apple Inc. unveiled redesigned iPhones with bigger screens, overhauling its top-selling product in an event that gives the clearest sign yet of the company's product direction under Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Philip 'Phil' Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., speaks about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus during a product announcement at Flint Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Apple Inc. unveiled redesigned iPhones with bigger screens, overhauling its top-selling product in an event that gives the clearest sign yet of the company's product direction under Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc., speaks during a product announcement at Flint Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Apple Inc. is expected to unveil redesigned iPhones with bigger screens, overhauling its top-selling product in an event that gives the clearest sign yet of the company's product direction under Cook. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc., waves during a product announcement at Flint Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Apple Inc. is expected to unveil redesigned iPhones with bigger screens, overhauling its top-selling product in an event that gives the clearest sign yet of the company's product direction under Cook. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: A crowd stands outside of a large white structure built ahead of the Apple keynote at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts at De Anza College on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple is expected to reveal both the iPhone 6 and their long-rumored wearable smartwatch device. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Attendees and members of the media wait in line ahead of a product announcement at Flint Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Apple Inc. is expected to unveil redesigned iPhones with bigger screens, overhauling its top-selling product in an event that gives the clearest sign yet of the company's product direction under Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Attendees wait for the start of a product announcement at Flint Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Apple Inc. is expected to unveil redesigned iPhones with bigger screens, overhauling its top-selling product in an event that gives the clearest sign yet of the company's product direction under Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple unveiled the Apple Watch wearable tech and two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about the Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple unveiled the Apple Watch wearable tech and two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc., unveils Apple Pay during a product announcement at Flint Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Apple Inc. unveiled redesigned iPhones with bigger screens, overhauling its top-selling product in an event that gives the clearest sign yet of the company's product direction under Cook. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, greets Bono from the band U2 after they preformed at the end of the Apple event on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif. Apple unveiled a new Apple Watch, the iPhone 6 and Apple Pay. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses the new Apple Watch on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
The Apple Watch is displayed after a product announcement at Flint Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Apple Inc. unveiled redesigned iPhones with bigger screens, overhauling its top-selling product in an event that gives the clearest sign yet of the company's product direction under Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The Apple Watch is displayed after a product announcement at Flint Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Apple Inc. unveiled redesigned iPhones with bigger screens, overhauling its top-selling product in an event that gives the clearest sign yet of the company's product direction under Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The new Apple Inc. iPhone 6 is displayed after a product announcement at Flint Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Apple Inc. unveiled redesigned iPhones with bigger screens, overhauling its top-selling product in an event that gives the clearest sign yet of the company's product direction under Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The new Apple Inc. iPhone 6 is displayed after a product announcement at Flint Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Apple Inc. unveiled redesigned iPhones with bigger screens, overhauling its top-selling product in an event that gives the clearest sign yet of the company's product direction under Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The Apple Watch is displayed after a product announcement at Flint Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Apple Inc. unveiled redesigned iPhones with bigger screens, overhauling its top-selling product in an event that gives the clearest sign yet of the company's product direction under Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the new Apple Watch, which he is wearing, on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif. Apple's new wearable device marks the company's first major entry in a new product category since the iPad's debut in 2010. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the new Apple Watch, which he is wearing, on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif. Apple's new wearable device marks the company's first major entry in a new product category since the iPad's debut in 2010. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the new Apple Pay product on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Eddy Cue, Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, discusses the new Apple Pay product on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses the new Apple Watch and iPhone 6 on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Apple CEO Tim Cook walks on stage and waves to the crowd before he introduces the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Guests prepare for the start of an Apple event on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif. Along with larger iPhones, Apple is poised to unveil a wearable device — marking its first major entry in a new product category since the iPad's debut in 2010. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Guests arrive for the start of an Apple event on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif. Along with larger iPhones, Apple is poised to unveil a wearable device — marking its first major entry in a new product category since the iPad's debut in 2010. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Musician Gwen Stefani stands next to a display of the new Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple announced the new iPhone 6 and Apple Watch. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: The new Apple Watch is displayed during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple unveiled the Apple Watch wearable tech and two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Attendees look at a display of the new Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple unveiled the Apple Watch wearable tech and two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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The importance of "elements"

An "element" refers to a layer of plastic that makes up a part of the whole lens in a camera. Each of these elements, or layers, actually functions as its own standalone lens. But when they're combined into one lens, they allow a camera to capture more detailed and complex information.

So, a five-element lens such as the one that's in your smartphone's camera could actually be considered as five lenses crammed into one, says Rajiv Laroia, the co-founder and CTO of Light, a photography startup that's working on ways to fit cameras with multiple lenses inside smartphones.(In the iPhone, there's also a sapphire glass cover that protects this plastic lens from getting scratched.)

Since smartphone cameras are so small, the lenses for these cameras are constructed from layers of high-quality plastic rather than glass.These small plastic lenses are easier to fit into small devices and are much cheaper to produce than glass. In fact, these lenses only cost $1 to produce, according to Laroia.

Although the lens for the iPhone 6S will be made of five elements just like the one found in the current iPhone's camera, it's made of a higher specification so that it matches the new 12-megapixel sensor, this person in Apple's supply chain said.

For context, the current iPhone has an 8-megapixel sensor.

The six-element lens being considered for the iPhone 7 (or whatever it ends up being called) would only be on par with what competitors are already putting in their phones.

The OnePlus 2's camera, for example, packs a six-element lens with a 13-megapixel sensor. The Samsung Galaxy S5, which was released last year, is said to have a six-element lens as well.

Our source also mentioned that other clients typically order six-element camera lenses rather than five-element lenses.

A six-element camera lens allows a camera to absorb more light that a five-element lens would, which results in clearer and sharper images. In order to increase a camera's aperture, which is essentially a passage that allows light to enter through the camera, you would need to add more elements to a camera's lens, says Laroia. The larger the aperture, the more light can travel through the lens to the camera's body, which in turn produces better photographs.

"If you want to collect more light, then you need more elements," he said.

Nothing is considered final until Apple reveals its next iPhone. Supply chain orders don't always reflect how final products turn out, but it does give us an idea of what Apple might be experimenting with.

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