Apple is partnering with a Samsung subsidiary and another Chinese firm to fit ‘periscope camera lenses’ to upcoming iPhones, according to a respected leaker.
All iPhones from 2022, starting with what could be the iPhone 14, would come equipped with the powerful periscope telephoto cameras.
The claims come from renowned Apple product predictor and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, as detailed in a research note seen by MacRumors.
Periscope lenses, which use mirrors to provide a much greater optical zoom, have already been introduced to Huawei’s P30 Pro smartphone, released last year.
The Chinese firm’s P30 Pro offers a 5x optical zoom using ‘periscope’ optical zoom technology and can even zoom in up to 50x with added software.
Meanwhile, Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra can zoom in up to 100x using a combined optical zoom and an AI-powered digital zoom.
But the technology is controversial for providing an accessible tool to invade people’s privacy and peep through neighbours’ windows.
It’s unknown what level zoom capability iPhones would be equipped with, but the technology would offer an improvement on the iPhone 11’s 2x zoom and could be capable of zooming up to 50x.
This image compares a periscope lens system (right) and a standard vertical system (left). The periscope lens runs horizontally along the top of the device to help give enough space to enlarge an image but bends the light at a right angle. This compared to a standard system that aligns the lenses in a straight line. iPhones could have an invasive periscope zoom from 2022
It’s unknown what level zoom capability iPhones would be equipped with, but the technology would offer an improvement on the 2x zoom on the iPhone 11 (pictured)
Korean lens supplier and Samsung subsidiary Samsung Electro Mechanics (SEMCO) and Chinese supplier Sunny Optical are about to join Apple’s list of suppliers to bring the dubious technology to iPhones in the next couple of years.
The firms are expected to enter Apple’s supplier chain in the second half of 2020 and early 2021, respectively.
‘We predict that Semco, the best Korean lens supplier, and Sunny Optical, the best Chinese lens supplier, will enter the Apple lens supply chain in 2H20 and 2021, respectively,’ said Kuo, as quoted by MacRumours.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra can zoom in up to 100x using a combined optical zoom and an AI-powered digital zoom
SEMCO will be providing a ‘large percentage’ – about 50 per cent – of new periscope telephoto lenses to Apple for the 2022 iPhone, which could be called iPhone 14.
The alleged agreements with the new suppliers will take a proportion of the lens supply away from Taiwan-based firm and current supplier Genius Electronic Optical.
Apple had previously planned to use Genius Electronic Optical to supply periscope lenses, although its plans ‘may have changed’, MacRumours reports.
Periscope lens systems in smartphone cameras use mirrors or prisms to reflect light and change the direction at which it travels.
Different optical zoom capabilities and the detail they capture of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Generally, for a bigger zoom capability, front and rear camera lenses need to be a fairly big distance apart to help enlarge the image as it travels by light.
In a slim device like an iPhone, however, there is limited space that can be given up to enlarge the image, without the camera lens sticking out from the body of the device, meaning iPhones have been limited to a 2x optical zoom.
Software that bolsters the image by zooming in further is not as effective as optical zoom technology, as it compromises the resolution of the image.
However, periscope lens systems allow for a greater optical zoom capability by reflecting light across a greater space.
Just like toy periscopes, the light passes through an almost Z-shaped tunnel and bounces off mirrors at the tricky 90-degree angles.
Apple has filed patents related to periscope lenses as recently as 2016, according to MacRumours, in which thee technology is described as a ‘folded telephoto camera lens system’.
This would channel light into the camera through a primary lens, bounce off the included mirror and then pass through a secondary lens that moves up and down to zoom in.
However, the feature is yet to appear and there is no indication that periscope zoom will be coming on the new iPhone 12, set to be released later this year.
iPHONE 12 RUMOURS
Respected leaker Jon Prosser revealed schematics of a drastically reduced camera ‘notch’ on the front, expected for the iPhone 12
A pair of leaked schematics suggest that Apple’s upcoming iPhone 12 will fall just short of eliminating a camera ‘notch’ on the phone’s display.
The pictures, posted on Twitter by frequent phone leaker Jon Prosser, show what appear to be official Apple schematics for its next flagship iPhone – specifically a drastically reduced ‘notch’ that stores the device’s front-facing camera components.
According to the schematics the microphone will be moved to the top of the device’s display in order to compress the size of the camera notch.
Citing ‘people familiar with the plans,’ the report notes that Apple is set to release four new smartphones this year, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The devices will come in three different sizes, one will be 5.4 inches, two at 6.1 inches and another model is 6.7 inches – some of the handsets will support 5G.
Apple’s iPhone 12 could also be completely wireless, meaning users will not receive a free pair of earbuds and be forced to purchase the firm’s $159 AirPods.
The news was revealed by well-known Apple product predictor Ming-Chi Kuo, who believes the tech giant may offer promotions or discounts on the AirPods this holiday season.
Kuo also noted that Apple is not expected to release new models of AirPods or AirPods Pro until 2021, 9to5Mac reports.