I had a ton of hope when I splurged the equivalent of $1,700 on the iPhone 14 Pro last year, buying into the camera hype of the new 48-megapixel sensor, the snazzy Dynamic Island, and a faster chip. I was sorely disappointed, especially when I looked at the competition and noticed I was missing out on meaningful perks like a folded lens telephoto camera for a higher lossless zoom range. I was not alone in sharing the disappointment.
But then, rumors started floating that the iPhone 15 Pro would finally get a periscope-inspired telephoto camera. Once again, I started mentally preparing myself for another Apple flagship purchase, narrowing my target down to the iPhone 15 Pro for two main reasons. First, because it’s smaller, and second, because it’s cheaper than the Max variant. But it appears that the
TFI Securities analyst and reliable industry insider Ming-Chi Kuo writes in a market note that the periscope-style telephoto camera will be exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, primarily because of the internal space constraint. For the unaware, a periscope camera system relies on an L-shaped light tunnel inside the phone chassis. Instead of having light directly fall on the sensor, the light rays first touch a prism (aka folded lens), which then bends it at 90 degrees and feeds it to the sensor after passing it through a horizontal tunnel of lenses.
This tunnel allows a higher degree of movement for the lens elements and focal adjustment, allowing the sensor to achieve a significantly higher optical zoom range compared to your average telephoto lens. Take, for example, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, which has a telephoto camera that allows 10x optical zoom and 100x digital zoom, while the iPhone 14 Pro Max is limited to a 3x optical zoom output.
According to Kuo, the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s larger size allows Apple to fit a periscope module, but the same won’t be possible for the
An unreasonable disappointment
While the engineering challenges are reasonable, it’s odd that Apple wouldn’t give the redesign treatment to the iPhone 15 Pro. After all, it essentially carries the same design language as the iPhone 11, which would be four generations old by the time the
It would be baffling to see that, save for a processor upgrade, the iPhone 15 Pro would virtually be the same phone as the iPhone 14 Pro, while the
But the asking price, well, it could go up for the iPhone 15 quartet or stay the same as the iPhone 14 series. Either way, the
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