Features of the first iPhone camera with periscope technology, detailed by a leading analyst

According to noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, a veteran with an impeccable reputation on the subject of unofficially announced Apple product reveals, the iPhone 15 will be Apple’s first phone with extended optical zoom, achieved using periscope technology.

Compared to conventional solutions, periscope technology deploys the camera lens horizontally, widening the range of optical zoom available on future iPhone models. Instead of cramming the lens on top of the optical sensor, periscope cameras avoid space constraints by using a prism lens to reflect light at a 90° angle. Arranged along the longitudinal axis of the housing, the lenses responsible for focusing the image can move without being constrained by the thickness of the phone.

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With this technology, Apple could far exceed the optical zoom range available with the iPhone 13 series, limited to 3x on the Pro Max model. For example, the Galaxy S22 Ultra raises the optical zoom level from 3x in telephoto mode to 10x using the camera equipped with periscope lenses.

According to information provided by Ming-Chi Kuo, the introduction of periscope technology for the iPhone range is scheduled for 2023, making it easier to overcome the limitations offered by telephoto cameras with conventional lenses.

The first generation of periscope cameras included with the iPhone 15 will bring the zoom level up to 5x or 6x, below the level already offered by competitor Samsung. The reason for this is easy to see, as Apple wants to deliver a periscope implementation without compromising on image quality (e.g. lower resolution at maximum zoom), while retaining the advantage of an even higher zoom level to promote future iPhone generations.

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Unfortunately it’s a bit too early to talk about concrete technical details, as Apple is testing this camera time at most at the prototype stage, with the list of component suppliers for mass production not yet established.

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