Apple could be working on a camera with up to 10x optical zoom – but we might be waiting until the iPhone 14 to see it.
This leak comes from South Korean site The Elec, who has reported that Apple is working on a folded zoom-style camera for 2022.
Folded zoom – or periscope zoom – is a type of telephoto camera that maintains a slim design by absorbing light into the image sensor and bending it horizontally, rather than stacking the components vertically.
The tech is usually required for camera modules with optical zooms of over 3x, which explains why Apple would be interested in adopting it to push beyond the current 2.5x optical zoom found in the iPhone 12 Pro Max (the regular Pro is still stuck at 2x).
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A number of the company’s rivals, including Samsung, Huawei and Oppo already use folded zoom tech in their flagship phones. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and the Huawei P40 Pro Plus, for example, boast periscope lenses for optical zoom at 5x and an impressive 10x, respectively.
According to The Elec, Apple’s folded zoom camera module will be built and supplied by LG InnoTek using Samsung components, including actuators and lenses.
However, this is subject to an agreement being made between the companies, as Apple apparently has less patents for periscope cameras than Samsung. Apple also already has a relationship with LG, which is why the company may choose to go through LG rather than sourcing the modules directly from Samsung.
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The Elec’s sources haven’t stated what level of zoom Apple is aiming for in its 2022 iPhone range, but with some rivals going as far as 10x already, it’s possible the company could match this with its own periscope lens.
However, we’re still in earlier days as the smartphone isn’t expected to arrive for two more years. Hopefully, we’ll hear more about this closer to the iPhone’s release.