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iPhone 15 periscope zoom camera might happen, new report says

Published Apr 14th, 2022 7:31AM EDT
iPhone 13 Pro Camera
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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A report said a few days ago that the iPhone 14 won’t get a periscope camera. Instead, Apple will introduce the periscope lens with next year’s iPhone 15 series. A new report indicates that Apple might have already secured a deal with a key parts supplier in Asia who might provide components for the next-gen zoom camera.

Will iPhone 14 have a telephoto camera?

The iPhone 14 series will include four devices split into two lines and two sizes. The mini design is going away, so buyers will get to choose between 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch screens this year. The non-Pro iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Pro will each offer the two display diagonals.

Only the iPhone 14 Pro phones will include a telephoto lens. That’s the third lens available on Pro models. All four iPhones will share wide and ultra-wide cameras. However, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will not feature a periscope telephoto lens. Customers waiting for that functionality will have to wait for the iPhone 15 series.

Periscope lenses have largely been a marketing gimmick, especially in the early years. Phones like the Galaxy S20 Ultra would deliver 100x digital zoom, but that sort of magnification was unusable. Your best bet for improved quality was a much lower zoom setting. But Samsung has improved the feature significantly for the Galaxy S22 Ultra, showing potential for the technology.

A telephoto zoom isn’t a must-have feature on a smartphone. But it can offer better optical zoom if that’s something you need. Apple has been working behind the scenes on deals to bring periscope zoom to its iPhone, and it looks like it could have the technology starting with the iPhone 15 series.

A new report from The Elec notes that Jahwa Electronics announced on Wednesday plans to spend 191 billion won ($155 million) on a new facility. The plant will produce optical image stabilization (OIS) actuators for undisclosed clients. The components also include autofocus functions in addition to OIS.

2017 periscope zoom camera prototype technology from Oppo
2017 periscope zoom camera prototype technology from Oppo. Image source: Oppo

The iPhone 15 rumors

The iPhone 15 isn’t explicitly mentioned, but The Elec says that the massive investment indicates Jahwa has secured new customers beyond Samsung. Apple is the likely company to have inked a new deal with the camera parts supplier.

Last year, the same Korean site reported that Apple visited Jahwa Electronics in the first half of 2021. The iPhone maker inspected the OIS lines in South Korea. The report says that Apple routinely asks suppliers to build production lines exclusively for the iPhone. As a result, the new facility might manufacture iPhone-only parts.

The plant might be finished next March, and Apple will need to approve the production lines before Jahwa starts making iPhone components. The entire procedure might last another year.

While this schedule seems to indicate the iPhone 15 might get camera parts from the Korean company next year, there’s no indication they’ll fit periscope zoom cameras. However, The Elec notes that the OIS actuators are likely for telephoto cameras or the zoom cameras that equip Pro iPhones.

Also, the same source said last year that Apple has been looking at Jahwa explicitly for periscope camera parts and the patents for the technology the supplier holds.

Still, none of this is confirmed at this time. It sure looks like the iPhone 15 Pro phones will feature periscope zoom cameras if all goes well. But the parties involved aren’t likely to detail the partnership.

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.

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