iPhone 17 Pro Max Will Be First Model to Feature Three 48MP Cameras

Next year's iPhone 17 Pro Max will feature an upgraded 48-megapixel Tetraprism camera for enhanced photo quality and zoom functionality, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

iPhone 15 Pro Cameras
In his latest investor note published to Medium, Kuo said the key specification change would be a 1/2.6" 48MP CIS sensor, up from the 1/3.1" 12MP sensor expected to be used in this year's iPhone 16 Pro models.

Both the iPhone 16 Pro and the iPhone 16 Pro Max are expected to get Tetraprism telephoto lenses in 2024, instead of the technology being limited to the larger Pro Max, as it is in the iPhone 15 series. (The iPhone 15 Pro has a 12-megapixel telephoto camera that offers 3x zoom, but the iPhone 15 Pro Max uses an upgraded telephoto system that allows for 5x zoom.) That means both iPhone 16 Pro models will feature at least 5x optical zoom and at least 25x digital zoom.

Kuo said he is currently uncertain whether only the iPhone 17 Pro Max will feature the upgraded Tetraprism camera. But if it is exclusive to the model, then both iPhone 18 Pro models will get it in 2026. The upgraded Tetraprism camera requires all-new designed prisms, which must have a shorter form factor to reduce the camera's height, added Kuo.

The analyst's report corroborates a claim made last year by Jeff Pu of Haitong International Securities. Pu in December said the iPhone 17 Pro Max's upgraded 48MP telephoto lens will be optimized for use with Apple Vision Pro. Current iPhone 15 Pro models can record spatial video with 3D depth for playback on the Vision Pro – when held in landscape orientation, the main and ultra wide lenses combine to record spatial video with added depth.

Pu previously said both iPhone 16 Pro models will feature a 48MP ultra wide lens, which would make the iPhone 17 Pro Max the first iPhone model to have a rear camera system entirely made up of 48-megapixel lenses. To put that into perspective, current iPhone 15 Pro models have 48MP main, 12MP ultra wide, and 12MP telephoto lenses.

Looking further ahead, Kuo said 2027 iPhones will have a more substantially improved Tetraprism camera with a better optical zoom. This is likely to be achieved by increasing the number of prisms to lengthen the light path, in which case it would no longer be called a "Tetraprism" lens. As the number of prisms increases, the prism size may need to be reduced, increasing the complexity of the prism design, said the analyst.

Related Roundup: iPhone 17

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Top Rated Comments

Alwaysfindsaway Avatar
1 week ago
Seriously, they could easily do that with the 16!! I’ve been waiting for 3 48mp cameras for 2 years already. So sick of this drawing things out just to make more sales when they could easily do it now. That’s why people aren’t upgrading as much they know Apple is ripping them off.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lordLW Avatar
1 week ago

so we have to wait til the 17 model to get an awesome camera. late 2025.

shell out another $1700 bucks.

I went back to a Kyocera duraxe Epic flip phone. love it. long battery life. user replaceable battery. no government spy ware installed.
'government spyware' bro I suggest therapy and a walk on the beach
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Darren.h Avatar
1 week ago
so we have to wait til the 17 model to get an awesome camera. late 2025.

shell out another $1700 bucks.

I went back to a Kyocera duraxe Epic flip phone. love it. long battery life. user replaceable battery. no government spy ware installed.

make the switch.

Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wikiverse Avatar
1 week ago
The 48MP sensors will be a big improvement, but honestly the 5x camera on the Max is not as good as the current 3x on the Pro. I was planning to buy the Max until I used it in an apple store. The photos were either grainy or mushy, and the video stabilization would jump around at the slightest movement.

A 3x lens and all 3 cameras with 48MP sensors would be ideal. In real-world use, I've never needed a 5x lens, and honestly with a 48MP sensor on the 3x lens, there would be enough resolution to digitally crop to 5x.

At this point, Apple should just make a camera with a full zoom range, that runs on iOS, for people that are buying a phone just for the camera features.

Attachment Image
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kiranmk2 Avatar
1 week ago
And this is Apple in the 2020s: drip features in over the years and then have them drip slowly down to the lower models to maximise the number of people who buy the most expensive model. People are already extending the length of time they hold on to their phones and this probably isn't helping.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MayaUser Avatar
1 week ago
Samsung reading this will go first next year ahead of September
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)