The iPhone 15 Pro Max suddenly sounds a whole lot more appealing

Apple's iPhone cameras are getting a massive upgrade, but it's only coming to the iPhone 15 Pro Max

iPhone 14 Pro Max
(Image credit: Parvez Khan)

We might not have the iPhone 14 yet, but work's well underway on its replacement. We don't have many details about the iPhone 15 just yet, but a new report says it's going to get a very significant upgrade to the camera system. That's the good news. The bad news? The upgrade's only coming to the most expensive model, the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

The new report comes from respected industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, as reported by GSM Arena. Kuo says that the previously rumoured periscope lens for the iPhone 15 is definitely coming, but contradicts speculation that it'd be coming to both the Pro and the Pro Max. For the iPhone 15 at least, the only periscope will be in the most expensive model.

That's a shame, because the spec sounds excellent. The explanation is simple enough, though: periscope lenses are big, and the Pro Max is the only iPhone that's big enough right now.

iPhone 15 Pro Max periscope lens: better zoom and sensor stabilisation

We've seen periscope lenses in other smartphones, such as in the Sony Xperia 1 IV. It enables phones to deliver much higher levels of optical zoom without having to have a massive telescopic camera on the back, and in the case of the Sony that means a max optical zoom of 5.2. That's impressive for a phone, but according to Kuo the one in the iPhone 15 Pro Max will go up to 6x optical zoom. That's twice the zoom of my iPhone 13 Pro.

Interestingly, it seems that Apple isn't massively increasing the megapixels any time soon: the zoom lens will be using a 12MP 1/3" sensor. However the other cameras will be better than in the iPhone 13: we know that the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are both getting 48MP main cameras this year as well as improved autofocus in the front-facing cameras.

Kuo says that Apple will bring the periscope lens to the iPhone 16 Pro as well as the Pro Max, but don't expect to see it in the standard iPhone 16: while that's the same size as the Pro, cameras are one of the ways Apple differentiates the Pro from the standard iPhone. As with the iPhone 13, if you want the best cameras in any iPhone you'll need to go Pro.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (