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Apple reportedly ditches camera supplier O-Film over forced labor concerns

iPhone 12 Camera app
iPhone 12 Camera app (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple has reportedly ditched iPhone camera supplier O-Film.
  • The move comes with the firm accused of using forced labor.

Apple has reportedly ditched iPhone camera supplier O-Film amid accusations that it used forced labor. The company isn't the biggest supplier of cameras to the iPhone maker, but it does account for around 15% of those used.

Chinese company O'Film Group has been kicked out of Apple's camera module supply chain, TheElec has learned.The US Department of Commerce had early in July designated O'Film Group among a list of eleven Chinese companies that it accuses of taking part in human rights violations against the Uighur people.

According to a report by The Elect, Apple's decision means that O-Film will only provide cameras for older iPhones – presumably while a replacement company is lined up. Both LG InnoTek and Sharp already provide cameras for Apple with the former expected to pick up the slack eventually.

O'Film's modules accounted for around mid-10% of those used by Apple in its smartphones. LG InnoTek's account for some 50% and Sharp 30%.The Chinese company will now likely only supply camera modules for legacy iPhones. It won't be able to supply to newly launched iPhones.LG InnoTek had supplied the triple camera and time of flight (ToF) module for iPhones 12 Pro and iPhones 12 Pro Max. The company will likely now also supply modules for lesser tier iPhones.

This all comes after accusations of forced labor that Apple says it investigated back in July. It isn't clear what has changed in the last few months, but it was clearly enough for Apple to decide it was time to pull the plug on O-Film.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.