As noted by MacNN, reports surfaced late Friday that Stringer told The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg in an interview that a Sony camera sensor plant in Japan had been damaged by last month's earthquake, delaying shipments of sensors to Apple.
However, Sony does not currently provide image sensors to Apple, prompting speculation that the electronics giant could be set to provide a higher-resolution camera for the next iPhone. OmniVision has been Apple's camera supplier for the 5-megapixel camera on the iPhone 4 and the 3.2-megapixel sensor for the iPhone 3GS.
Stringer's slip-up has led some to believe that an earlier rumor suggesting Sony would take over for OmniVision in providing an eight-megapixel sensor is indeed accurate. In February, an analyst claimed that OmniVision would be unable to produce an eight-megapixel sensor in time for the launch of the next iPhone and that Sony would step in to for at least the first wave of orders.
According to the report, Sony's eight-megapixel sensor, which is used in the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo, would suit Apple's needs because it has a CMOS sensor for low light situations.
While the executive's comments should certainly be taken with a grain of salt, it's also possible that shipment delays of camera sensors corroborate rumors that Apple will hold off on showing new iPhone hardware at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which runs from June 6 through June 10. Apple has traditionally revealed a new version of the iPhone at WWDC in advance of a June or July release.