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 (opens in new tab) 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.