Apple Moving Forward With Plans for 'Folded' Periscope Cameras to Significantly Increase iPhone's Optical Zoom

Apple is advancing its plans to significantly enhance the iPhone's optical zoom range using periscope lens technology, according to ETNews.

periscope iPhone feature2

Citing industry sources familiar with the development of ‌iPhone‌ cameras, ETNews says Apple is currently seeking an appropriate "folded" periscope camera solution for the ‌iPhone‌ and has already initiated discussions with suppliers. Apple has filed patents related to periscope lens systems since 2014.

Apple has reportedly encountered issues developing its own periscope camera system due to much of the technology involved being guarded by other patents, leading the company to explore purchasing it directly from patent-holders instead. Specifically, "ball-type actuator" technology is purported to be essential to most periscope camera designs, but Samsung Electronics now owns this technology.

Many multi-camera and periscope camera patents were held by Israel-based company Corephotonics, including the ball-type actuator design, but it was acquired by Samsung in 2019. As a result, Samsung is said now to possess the key patents related to periscope cameras. Samsung's periscope camera technology has allowed it to implement it in devices such as the Galaxy S20 Ultra.

A Digitimes report seen by The Next Web has also corroborated this, stating that Apple is looking to improve the zoom capabilities of its next iPhones with a periscope camera system. The report speculates that Apple is looking to Samsung to provide a periscope lens system for future iPhones, rather than develop it in-house.

Industry insiders speaking to ETNews have cast doubt over the chances of a partnership between Apple and Samsung Electronics or Samsung Electro-Mechanics in this area. Some believe that Samsung will refuse to supply Apple with periscope cameras in order to maintain a competitive advantage with its range of Galaxy smartphones.

Alongside his correct prediction that the iPhone 12 Pro Max would have sensor-shift stabilization technology, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier this year that at least one ‌iPhone‌ model will feature a periscope telephoto lens in 2022.

However, Kuo has not attributed this to Samsung, instead predicting that Semco and Sunny Optical will supply the components.

Periscope lenses provide a much higher optical zoom range in a smartphone-sized package. Optical zoom is determined by the distance between a lens and an image sensor, but there is a limit to how much optical zoom range can be increased with the current vertically-stacked camera module structure because it would eventually increase the device's thickness. A periscope lens system allows a longer stack of lenses to be placed horizontally, before reflecting light using a mirror to face in the correct direction, all without increasing the device's thickness.

The camera technology has already made its way into some smartphones. Huawei, for example, ships the P30 Pro with a 5x true optical zoom using a similar mechanism. The ‌iPhone 12 Pro Max‌ currently offers the best optical zoom on an ‌iPhone‌, with the device being able to zoom in 2.5 times.

Related Roundup: iPhone 13
Buyer's Guide: iPhone 13 (Buy Now)
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

Bornee35 Avatar
12 months ago

The image posted with the article is silly and misleading.
I'll be thoroughly upset if it doesn't look like that.
Score: 85 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Baymowe335 Avatar
12 months ago
The image posted with the article is silly and misleading.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JM Avatar
12 months ago
Whoever does your graphics needs a raise ?
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kylew1212 Avatar
12 months ago
I came here just for the comments..
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PhillyGuy72 Avatar
12 months ago
I'm going to attach the toy periscope I had when I was 7, 8 years old to my phone. It's probably in a box up in the attic. (Almost looks like this...nice slick Pacific Blue model ?)




Attachment Image
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
orbital~debris Avatar
12 months ago
Now that's a truly awful image with which to illustrate the concept. It will just prompt inane comments, or reasons why Apple shouldn't be doing this kind of thing.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

iphone 12 pro max

iPhone 12 Pro Max is Among 'Best Smartphones of 2021' Says Consumer Reports

Thursday March 25, 2021 1:51 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 Pro Max is among the best smartphones of 2021 and is the top iPhone of the year, according to new smartphone rankings shared today by Consumer Reports. The faster A14 processor, OLED display, camera technology, and 5G connectivity earned it one of the top slots, with Consumer Reports recommending the 12 Pro Max over other options because of the longer battery life, larger...
iphone12protriplelenscamera

Kuo: No Significant Upgrades to Main iPhone Camera Lens Through at Least 2022 [Updated]

Thursday January 7, 2021 9:06 pm PST by
iPhone camera lenses may not see significant hardware updates through at least 2022, according to a new research note by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo seen by MacRumors. Today's note focuses on a new price war between lens suppliers Largan and Genius Electronic Optical that will affect profitability for the suppliers, with Genius Electronic Optical at particular risk due to its high reliance on Apple ...
Top Stories 61 Feature

Top Stories: New MacBook Pro at WWDC?, iOS 14.6 Released, AirPods Rumors

Saturday May 29, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
WWDC is quickly approaching, and that means rumors are starting to ramp up including the possibility that we might see the long-rumored MacBook Pro redesign at the keynote. This week also saw rumors about future updates to the AirPods and AirPods Pro, as well as a redesigned Mac mini. In other news, Apple has released iOS 14.6 with new features like Apple Card Family and podcast...
iphone 13 pro max dummy notch

iPhone 13 Pro Max Dummy Model Depicts Smaller Notch

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:08 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 13 models are expected to feature a slimmed down notch, marking the first major change to the TrueDepth camera system since it was introduced in the 2017 iPhone X. We're still months away from the launch of the iPhone 13, but Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy managed to get an iPhone 13 Pro Max dummy model that represents what we can expect from the new 2021 device. Dummy...
iphone12protriplelenscamera

Kuo: 2023 iPhones to Feature 'Periscopic' Telephoto Lens

Monday March 8, 2021 10:08 pm PST by
Apple's iPhones will adopt a "periscopic telephoto lens" in 2023, according to a research note shared this evening by well-respected TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo did not elaborate, but we've heard several prior rumors about Apple's work on a periscope lens, which would allow for significant improvements in optical zoom capabilities. Kuo previously said that he expected Apple to...
galaxy s21 iphone 12 pro max

Samsung May Drop Time-of-Flight Sensor in Next Flagship Galaxy Phone

Monday April 19, 2021 1:50 am PDT by
Samsung is not planning to include a ToF (time of flight) sensor in its upcoming Galaxy S22 flagship smartphone, according to Korea IT News, due to the South Korean tech-giant believing the technology lacks a "clear advantage" for the front-end consumer. Apple first introduced ToF, or LiDAR, with the iPad Pro in 2020, and first on the iPhone with the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max....
iphone 12 pro triple camera video

Apple's Changing the iPhone 13 Camera Bump

Friday April 9, 2021 3:21 am PDT by
The upcoming iPhone 13's rear camera bump is set to be thinner and protrude less from the device, according to recent rumors. A recent YouTube video from EverythingApplePro, used to share Max Weinbach's leaks, said that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature a flatter camera bump. Weinbach explained that the iPhone 13's camera module will not be completely flat, but each lens will protrude...
iphone 12 pro triple camera video

Rumors Persist of 2022 iPhones With Periscope Lens, Could Allow Up to 10x Zoom Without Blurriness

Monday December 7, 2020 7:07 am PST by
Apple may use components made by Samsung for a "folded" telephoto lens on at least some iPhone models released in 2022, allowing for significantly increased optical zoom, according to unnamed sources cited by Korean website The Elec. The report claims that Samsung's Electro-Mechanics subsidiary would supply components such as actuators and lenses to LG, which in turn would use the components ...
iPhone 13 Camera Backs

iPhone 13 Models Will Be Slightly Thicker and Will Have Larger Camera Bumps

Monday May 10, 2021 10:41 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 models will be slightly thicker than the iPhone 12 models and will also feature larger, thicker camera bumps with lenses that protrude less, according to iPhone 13 schematics seen by MacRumors. The new iPhone 13 and 13 Pro models are expected to feature a thickness of 7.57mm, up from 7.4mm in the iPhone 12 models. That's an increase of 0.17mm, which won't be hugely ...
iphone12protriplelenscamera

Kuo: iPhone 13 Lineup to Feature Nearly Identical Wide Camera Lens as iPhone 12

Wednesday March 31, 2021 1:33 am PDT by
According to credible Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPhone 13 lineup, slated for launch in the second half of the year, will feature the same wide-angle lens as the current iPhone 12 series, offering no tangible improvements to one of the three lenses on the upcoming iPhone. In an investors note obtained by MacRumors, focused mainly on developments and changes within Apple's supply chain,...