Looking a few years down the line, Apple is reportedly planning to integrate periscope telephoto cameras into its iPhones in 2022.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has released a new research note, indicating that Apple has brought Semco and Sunny Optical onboard to its supply chain this year. According to 9to5Mac‘s report, Semco will be providing ball-based voice coiled motors for the iPhone 12. Compared to the currently-used spring-based motor, Semco’s motor will provide increased autofocus.
On top of that, Semco will play a role in integrating a periscope telephoto camera lenses into the new iPhones come 2022. Periscope cameras provide increased long-range focus without the loss of quality.
While many assume from the name that the lenses will be curved, periscope cameras are referred to the use of vertical space, mirrors, and prisms to reflect and focus light. Competitors such as Huawei and more recently, Samsung, have integrated similar techniques to achieve the 5x zoom in its cameras. Currently, Oppo offers a camera with a 10x optical zoom on its Oppo Reno.
Theoretically, this may enable Apple’s future iPhones to achieve a 5x zoom without a loss in picture quality. Depending on Apple’s development plans, the company could aim for a more contemorary optical zoom strength of 10x in order to keep up with the competition. Huawei, for example, recently launched its P40, which also a 10x hybrid zoom.