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iPhone 14 Pro won’t have a periscope camera, but iPhone 15 reportedly will

Published Mar 29th, 2022 12:38PM EDT

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Several iPhone 14 leaks tell the same design story for Apple’s 2022 handsets. This year, Apple will use two different notch designs. One is a traditional Face ID notch for the cheaper models. The second is a brand new approach for the iPhone 14 Pro that we’ve never seen before on any phone. Moreover, the leaked schematics seem to confirm a rumor that the primary camera on Apple’s Pro models will have a 48-megapixel sensor. But the iPhone 14 phones will reportedly not come with a periscope zoom camera, which makes 100x zoom possible on phones like the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Will the iPhone 14 Pro have a telephoto lens?

This year’s cheaper iPhones will reportedly be called iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max. They’ll have the same display sizes as Apple’s Pro models. But they’ll lack a few of the most exciting specs from the Pro series. The list includes the faster A16 Pro processor, faster LPPDR5 RAM, support for 120Hz refresh rate, the primary 48-megapixel camera, and a telephoto lens.

The iPhone 14 phones will continue to feature a dual-camera system on the back. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max will get three cameras, including the telephoto lens that should deliver zoom at least as good as the iPhone 13 Pro.

But the new iPhone 14 Pro won’t have a periscope camera that will take the iPhone’s optical zoom to the next level.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra is one iPhone rival that features a periscope lens. If you’ve tried it, you know that 100x zoom is still a marketing gimmick. But zoom samples indicate that Samsung has upgraded the experience significantly compared to the S20 Ultra and S21 Ultra. Samsung isn’t the first vendor to adopt periscope zoom cameras, but the principle is similar.

The periscope camera allows smartphone makers to increase camera zoom without needing a massive camera bump on the back. This works by placing the camera on the side and having it point to the left edge instead of upwards.

What you see on the back is usually a rectangular opening rather than a circle, letting light pass through. A prism bends that light, sending it through the periscope camera’s lenses to the sensor.

iFixit’s Galaxy S22 Ultra teardown video above does a great job of explaining how the periscope camera works. The iPhone 14 periscope would work the same way… if the handset was going to get one.

iPhone 12 Pro
iPhone 12 Pro’s telephoto rear camera placement. Image source: Apple Inc.

2023 models might get periscope zoom

The iPhone 14 doesn’t necessarily need a periscope camera. And despite early rumors, it looks like Apple’s 2022 iPhones won’t get a periscope camera. Haitong International Securities Jeff Pu said in a new research note that the iPhone 14 has reached the engineering validation test (EVT) phase and there is no periscope camera in sight.

The recent lockdowns in China have not impacted the iPhone 14 production schedule, Pu said. He also claimed that the A16 chip will feature a larger die size than the A15.

Furthermore, the analyst noted the 48-megapixel wide-angle camera upgrade for the Pro models. But he said that Apple will probably introduce a periscope zoom camera on the iPhone 15 Po next year. That telephoto lens will offer 5x optical zoom, the analyst said.

iPhone 13 Pro Camera Specs
iPhone 13 Pro camera specs for telephoto, ultra-wide and wide cameras. Image source: Apple Inc.

Separately, Ming-Chi Kuo said in December that the iPhone 14 series won’t get a periscope camera.

Apple’s iPhones may still get some zoom improvements this year. As you can see in the images above, Apple has upgraded the telephoto camera on the iPhone 13 Pro models compared to their predecessors.

The iPhone 13 Pro models support 6x zoom across the entire camera system compared to 5x for the iPhone 12 Pro. Where optical zoom is concerned, Apple’s latest telephoto lens supports 3x optical zoom.

More iPhone coverage: For more iPhone news, visit our iPhone 14 guide.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.