If you've been waiting for the long-anticipated arrival of a periscope zoom lens for the iPhone, we've got good news and bad news. The good news is that it's reportedly coming to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, aka the iPhone 15 Ultra. The bad news is that it won't come to the iPhone 15 Pro.
That's according to a new report from trade site The Elec (opens in new tab) (via MacRumors), which says that Apple plans to put a "folded zoom" periscope lens inside the most expensive iPhone 15 this year. That ties in with a previous report by well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who said that the Pro Max would be the only model in the iPhone 15 line-up to get the better zoom system.
When will the periscope zoom come to the iPhone Pro?
According to the aforementioned reports, Apple is giving the Pro Max a year's head start before bringing the periscope lens to the iPhone 16 Pro in 2024. Presumably – space permitting, as these are smaller devices – the remaining iPhones will get the upgrade for the iPhone 17 range in 2025.
Periscope lenses solve a big problem with smartphone cameras: their thin cases mean you can't stick a huge optical zoom in there. By taking the zoom and making it horizontal, running across the inside of the case rather than sticking out of it, periscope lenses can overcome that issue and deliver much better optical zooms than non-periscope systems do.
It's a shame that the Pro isn't also getting the zoom, because that's one area where the iPhone falls short of rivals such as the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with its spectacular zoom options. Until now Apple has upgraded the camera setups in the Pro and Pro Max at the same time; changing that does feel rather like Apple is trying to squeeze even more cash from its most profitable phone buyers.