The iPhone 15 Pro Max is Apple’s first iPhone to feature a periscope zoom lens. The handset has a tetraprism lens, something unique in the industry so far. The extra “bending” of the prism to improve optical zoom reduces the amount of internal space taken up by the telephoto camera. Apple is looking to maximize battery size on its devices, so it needs all the room it can get.
Internal space is probably one of the reasons the smaller iPhone 15 Pro lacks a zoom camera. Cost is another. The iPhone 15 Pro Max isn’t technically more expensive than its predecessor. But there’s no 128GB version of the handset. So you have to spend $100 more for the cheapest version.
Rumors have said that Apple plans to bring a periscope lens to the iPhone 16 Pro and 16 Pro Max. New developments now signal that the upgrade is inevitable, and that’s great news.
I can’t say I’ve ever felt the need to use something like the 100x Space Zoom a phone like the Galaxy S23 has to offer. But there are cases where better zoom can come in handy. Then there’s the optical zoom improvements that a periscope camera can bring.
Such features are restricted to the iPhone 15 Pro Max for now. But rumors said that Apple will increase the size of both the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max next year.
The adoption of periscope cameras is the reason why Apple would have to increase the iPhone 16 Pro size. Again, it’s about maintaining great battery life. Rumors said that the iPhone 16 Pro will feature a 6.3-inch screen, roughly 0.2-inch larger than the 6.1-inch size Apple has been using for the Pro models.
A bump in size for the smaller iPhone Pro means the Pro Max also has to grow. Otherwise, the two devices would be too similar. Indeed, rumors say the iPhone 16 Pro Max will feature a 6.9-inch screen.
Fast-forward to this week, and we have reports from Asia mentioning the same screen size upgrades for the iPhone 16 Pro and 16 Pro Max. There’s nothing in those reports about tetraprism cameras. But well-known Apple insider Ming-Chi Kuo penned a blog post on Medium that addresses precisely tetraprism cameras for the iPhone.
Kuo says that Largan is the exclusive supplier of the tetraprism lens for the iPhone 15 Pro Max. The company fought low production yields in the third quarter of the year, which impacted its bottom line. But Kuo says Largan has increased yields from 40% to 70%, making tetraprism production profitable this quarter.
Looking ahead, Kuo said that Apple and Huawei are the fastest-growing brands when it comes to periscope zoom camera shipments. The latter has been among the first smartphone vendors to pack a periscope camera inside flagship devices. Huawei has seen a surge in sales this year after making its own mobile chips.
As for Apple, Kuo says that Apple will include a tetraprism camera in the iPhone 16 Pro next year. This will lead to a 160% growth over last year in iPhones with tetraprism cameras.
As a reminder, the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max sold better than the base models, same as with the Phone 14 series. It’s likely the iPhone 16 Pro and 16 Pro Max will elicit similar interest from buyers.
Largan should be the primary supplier of periscope lenses for both Apple and Huawei. When it comes to the iPhone, the company should account for 85% to 90% of tetraprism lens supply.