A recent report suggests that only the 2024 iPhone 16 Pro Max model will get a higher-end periscope camera with new zoom capabilities.
A previous rumor suggested Apple would limit its new periscope camera lens to only the iPhone 15 Pro Max models. That means the regular iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15, and iPhone 15 Plus would retain their traditional telephoto lens.
The rumor wasn’t surprising since Apple has traditionally introduced new camera features on its most prominent flagship iPhone. For example, the iPhone 12 Pro Max had a sensor-shift optical image stabilization, a feature Apple eventually extended to the iPhone 13 Pro.
However, that tradition could change soon.
According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple might not extend the periscope camera lens to other iPhone 16 lineups besides its largest flagship device. In other words, the improved telephoto lens will remain limited to the iPhone 16 Pro Max models.
“Only one/the highest-end model of the new 2H24 iPhone 16 series may have a periscope camera, not the two models of market expectation,” says Kuo. “It’s detrimental to Largan and Genius since the demand for lens upgrades will fall below expectations.”
Only one/the highest-end model of the new 2H24 iPhone 16 series may have a periscope camera, not the two models of market expectation. It's detrimental to Largan and Genius since the demand for lens upgrades will fall below expectations.
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) January 31, 2023
Here’s why that’s a big deal.
What a Periscope Camera Lens on the iPhone Means
You’ve heard the word “periscope” several times but may not know how it works.
In its simplest form, a periscope consists of an outer case with two lenses — mirror or prism — at each end set at a 45 degrees angle. That way, when you look into one end, you’ll see the image reflected from the other.
Well, a periscope lens follows the same principle.
However, it uses a single mirror that bends the light to 90 degrees. It allows the lens length to be much longer since the phone’s depth is no longer a factor, resulting in an improved zooming capability.
That means the iPhone 15 Pro Max could feature up to 6x optical zoom — significantly improving the 3x optical zoom in current models.
It’s worth noting that competitors such as Samsung and Huawei already use the periscope camera lens. As a result, limiting the technology to a pricier flagship device could frustrate Apple users that prefer the latest technology.