Will Apple keep its periscope camera for Ultra buyers only? This expert says yes

The iPhone 15 Pro Max / Ultra appears to be keeping the best toys to itself

Apple iPhone 15 Ultra phone in silver and gold on white background
(Image credit: 4RMD)

It looks like the iPhone 15 is going to continue the same strategy we saw in the iPhone 14 range, with the very best features being reserved for the most expensive models. The latest report from industry insider Ming-Chi Kuo says that the rumoured periscope lens is indeed coming to the iPhone 15, but only to the iPhone 15 Pro Max (which may be called the iPhone 15 Ultra). 

It's not surprising, but it is rather disappointing because it's a feature that would benefit a lot of iPhone users, not just the big spenders and creative pros that go for the iPhone Pro Max models. A periscope lens, as we've seen in some of the best phones for photography from the likes of Samsung, offers vastly improved optical zoom.

Mirror mirror in your phone

According to Kuo, the periscope is only going into the most expensive iPhone 15, with the iPhone 15 Pro sticking with something very similar to that of the iPhone 14 Pro. That's upset a few key suppliers, it seems, as lens makers were hoping that iPhones with periscope cameras would drive demand for upgrades this year and next. The iPhone Pro Max may be very profitable for Apple, but it doesn't do the numbers that the standard iPhone does.

Kuo's report contradicts the most recent rumour, which predicted a periscope in both Pro models. Interior space is apparently a factor, although given that the Pro and Pro Max are largely identical it does seem that product differentiation and upselling is more of a factor than physical constraints. That's disappointing not just for people who don't want to spend iPhone Ultra money (hello!), but for people who don't want really big phones too.

If Kuo is correct, then the next phone to get the periscope lens is likely to be the iPhone 16 Pro – but other iPhone users might have to wait another year, assuming the tech is going to make its way into the rest of the iPhone range at all.

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; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).