According to analyst Jeff Pu, at least one iPhone model that Apple launches next year in 2023 will feature a periscopic telephoto lens as part of its camera system for a higher degree of optical zoom (via MacRumors).
Knowing Apple, this will likely be one of the higher-end ‘Pro’ variants of the iPhone 15.
A periscope system in a telephoto lens bounces the light entering it off an angled mirror towards the image sensor inside, allowing the camera to zoom in farther optically (i.e. without markedly degrading image quality and integrity of details like digital zoom).
Some Android devices like Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra and Huawei’s P40 Pro+ have already added a periscopic telephoto lens to their arsenal, with both delivering up to 10x optical zoom.
There have been reports of Apple working on integrating periscope technology into the iPhone’s camera module going as far back as mid-2020. Renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo originally pegged periscopic telephoto lenses to debut with this year’s iPhone 14, but later said the feature would be delayed until 2023’s iPhone 15 series.
Pu’s report matches up nicely with Kuo, who only a couple of weeks ago reiterated his expectations for a periscope lens on the iPhone 15.
The highest level of optical zoom offered by last year’s iPhone 13 line was 3x on the Pro models, but it looks like we’ll be getting multiples of that on at least some of next year’s iPhones.