iPhone 15 Pro Max: The Game-Changing Tetraprism Lens and What Lies Ahead

The iPhone 15 Pro Max features a groundbreaking tetraprism lens, offering 5x optical zoom. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests it may come to the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max has introduced a game-changing innovation in the form of the tetraprism lens, offering an impressive 5x optical zoom without compromising the phone's slim profile. This exclusive feature was initially limited to the Pro Max model, primarily due to rumors suggesting that it required a larger housing. However, recent insights from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo hint at the possibility of Apple incorporating the tetraprism lens into both the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max, potentially expanding its reach. While Kuo doesn't delve into the phone's size in his report, he does shed light on why the tetraprism lens remained exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

According to Kuo's analysis on Medium, the tetraprism lens has been a significant contributor to the "supply bottleneck" experienced during the iPhone 15 Pro Max production. This supply constraint, as Kuo has previously discussed at length, may have contributed to the delays in availability at various retailers, exacerbated by exceptionally high demand. To address this issue, supplier Largan has reportedly scaled up production, albeit at the cost of increasing the unit price for each tetraprism component. In essence, Apple has shown a willingness to sacrifice some profit margins to ensure that more iPhone 15 Pro Max units reach consumers.

Kuo predicts that Apple might consider allowing lens supplier Genius to join in the production by the following year, though Largan may still maintain its exclusive or primary supplier status for an additional year. Either way, this move could potentially alleviate production challenges associated with the tetraprism lens, opening the door for Apple to integrate it into the iPhone 16 Pro as well.

However, the incorporation of this advanced lens will likely hinge on several other factors, including the device's size. If the tetraprism lens indeed poses size constraints with the current 6.1-inch iPhone design, an increase in device dimensions may be necessary. Rumors have suggested that the iPhone 16 could sport a larger 6.3-inch screen, while the iPhone 16 Pro Max might grow even larger, up to 6.9 inches.

Beyond the camera enhancements, the real question is whether Apple can further enhance the level of optical magnification by the next iPhone iteration. While 5x optical zoom is commendable, rival smartphones have pushed the boundaries with even greater optical zoom capabilities. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra boasts an impressive 10x optical zoom, and there are murmurs about the upcoming Galaxy S24 Ultra possibly featuring a "hybrid" lens with variable magnification within a single lens.

Nevertheless, the iPhone 16 is expected to bring more than just camera improvements to the table. Speculation abounds that Apple may opt to conceal all Face ID sensors beneath the screen, leaving only a discreet camera lens cutout in the display. Additionally, there's a possibility of an "iPhone Ultra" release, although it remains unclear whether this would be a standalone product or a rebranded version of the Pro Max.

It's important to note that these insights are preliminary, and the release of the iPhone 16 is still some time away. With the iPhone 15 set to launch soon, it will be a while before we gain a comprehensive understanding of what Apple has in store for the iPhone 16. In the interim, explore our reviews for the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max to discover the remarkable camera capabilities of both devices.

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