Anyone curious if this is still just CD-AF, or possibly some kind of FPPD-AF?? Focal-plane phase detection is a critical thing for high performance mirrorless AF. I'm rather curious if Canon will demonstrate a solid willingness to compete with the likes of Fuji and Nikon in the arena of high speed, highly capable, multi-point AF in their first mirrorless entrant...or whether they will cripple it with some kind of vastly inferior CD-AF.
How Canon play's their mirrorless card(s) will be, IMO, a clear indication of their willingness or capability to compete in the new arena of digital camera equipment. FPPD-AF would indicate they ARE willing to compete, at least to keep up with the competition. A mirrorless entrant with FPPD and a high DR 14-bit sensor would indicate they are truly serious about competing and innovating into new markets, and serving their customers quality gear. Some form of Contrast-based AF would indicate they have lost the ability or interest in solidly competing and innovating into new markets against fierce competition. A mirrorless entrant with CD-AF and the same kind of "Canonized" sensor with high low-ISO read noise and poor DR would be seriously worrying...
Maybe the 650D's continuous live AF will be an indication of things to come? A hint at Canon's competitive prowess?
rest assured, it will be only plain-vanilla CD-AF in the 650D and most likely still slower than CD-AF in recent mFT mirrorless cameras.
Canon's "technical prowess" means, they are finally offering "continuous/Servo-AF" in video mode, probably also face-detection for tracking moving head-shots across the frame ... if and when conditions [lighting, contrast, speed, direction, predictability of movement] are so good and simple, that anyone could keep it manually in focus as well. And even that feature coms years after Canon's competitors have implemented it.
I myself have been waiting for hybrid, 2-stage AF systems for a long time. FPPD for "fast and rough" stage one focussing, followed by ultrafast CD-AF for stage 2 ... "precision focusing". Closest to that concept is the Nikon 1, which currently is the only camera on the market with FPPD. Presumably Nikon is sitting on a bunch of pretty valuable patents by now. But up to now, even Nikon has not managed to implement FPPD on APS-C or FF sensors.
Overall, Canon is getting increasingly punished for not being a true innovator. During the last 4 years they have increasingly become a pure marketing (-differentiation!) company. Technically all of their cameras are at least 1 step behind state of the art in virtually every aspect - from sensor to FPPD to hybrid viewfinders ... only their in-cam jpg engine(s) do very well compared to competitive products.
I also seriously doubt, the 650D will have a really kick-ass new Canon sensor with significantly higher DR [= with better dark noise specs]. I expect only a tiny, incremental update on the current 18 MP APS-C sensor (as used in 7D, 550D, 60D, 600D).
What's worse, by now I am fairly convinced that Canon is UNABLE - as opposed to just UNWILLING - to come up with new CMOS imaging sensors that are fully competitive with Nikon's (/Sony) latest sensors. The Canon G1X was the latest disappointing proof to that. Definitely NOT terrible but rather "pretty good" ... meaning: about 1 step below current "gold standard" on the market.
You've generally voiced my concerns. Over the last four years, its been clearly demonstrated that significant gains in sensor IQ can and indeed have
been made. Read noise does not need to be extremely high (like the 33+ electrons in the 5D III, one of the highest I've ever seen!), dynamic range can be pushed to the limits, pattern noise can be pretty much eliminated. Even if Canon had to pay some royalties for use of a patent or two, or needed to buy up a few companies with patents to get competitive again, they really need to. They are obviously incapable of innovating in the current market, and its really their customers who are going to start suffering as time moves on. I'm just waiting for SoNikon to move to full 16-bit CMOS sensor design, which, since their ADC's are on-die, would mean they could quadruple their dynamic range AGAIN, putting them around four stops better than Canon. That...well, it would be kind of a game ender, and people with large investments in Canon gear might indeed be stuck with them (who would buy used Canon gear when the vast bulk of the competition...anyone who uses a Sony Exmor sensor in their DSLRs, MILCs, etc. have vastly superior IQ, focal-plane phase-detection AF, etc. etc.).
BTW, regarding FPPD...I believe it is Fuji who has the patents on that. They were the first to produce a sensor with that style of AF system. It may not even be Fuji...I believe the concept was originally introduced in a research paper several years ago, in which case who knows who owns the patents. Whoever they are, they are brilliant, and deserve to rake in the royalties as it becomes a de-facto standard way to handle autofocus off in the future.