Apple poaches head of Nokia's Lumia photography team for camera work

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Apple has hired Ari Partinen, the head of Nokia's photography unit since 2007 who introduced its "PureView" system, to work on its iPhone camera systems.

Partinen, who had worked at Nokia since leaving university – including the Lumia range running Microsoft's Windows Phone software – said on Twitter than "today will be my last day working for the amazing #Lumia family. In June I will start a new chapter in Cupertino, California." He later confirmed that he is joining Apple.

Nokia has been famous for the quality of the camera software and hardware in its phone systems, although in the smartphone era it has seen little benefit from that lead. The Lumia 1020, released in summer 2013, has sold poorly despite having a 41-megapixel camera which can zoom in on minor detail inside a picture.

But camera quality is increasingly seen as a feature that is used to distinguish between phones and phone brands.

In his LinkedIn profile, Partinen described his most recent role at Nokia as "doing my very best making Nokia the best mobile imaging company in the world! Working in the fields of mobile photography, image quality verification, verification up-streaming, third-party management and collaboration, supplier collaboration and technical marketing in various multimedia segments."

Partinen is one of the first high-profile defections from Nokia since it was acquired in April by Microsoft. The concern for Microsoft will be to retain talent at its new hardware division.

Apple meanwhile has filed a number of patents for camera capabilities including hot-swappable lenses and add-ons that might enhance its position as a premium camera. With sales of digital cameras dropping rapidly as smartphones take over their capabilities, the acquisition of an imaging expert from Nokia could be a key move by Apple in trying to differentiate its camera offering from that of its rivals.

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Powered by article was written by Charles Arthur, for on Friday 9th May 2014 16.34 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010