Forget iPhone 15 — iPhone 16 Pro Max tipped for huge camera upgrade

iPhone 14 Pro Max
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

While the world is getting excited for the launch for the new iPhone 15 devices, new rumors about the iPhone 16 Pro Max suggest the launch at the Apple September event could miss a major camera upgrade.

According to new rumors from Digital Chat Station on Weibo, the iPhone 16 Pro Max could come with an "ultra" telephoto lens, a term reserved for cameras with a focal length of over 300mm. In comparison, the iPhone 14 Pro has a 77mm focal length, making the rumored upgrade nearly four times stronger than the current devices.

If true, the upgrade will pave the way for the iPhone 16 Pro to have a better zoom than the 3x currently seen in the iPhone 14 Pro. This improvement will be made possible with a periscopic zoom that is expected to be added to the iPhone 15 Pro Max this year, which is tipped for 6x. 

On top of the improvements in focal length, the Weibo tipster claimed the iPhone 16 Pro Max will feature a larger, 1/1.4 inch camera sensor. Currently, the iPhone 14 Pro feature a 1/1.28-inch sensor and there have been no rumors about an increase in the sensor size for the upcoming iPhone 15 Pro. 

iPhone 16 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro Camera rumours

ipHone 15 concept 4RMD

(Image credit: 4RMD)

These camera improvements add credence to the rumor that Apple intend to bring an iPhone Ultra model to market as soon as next year. The post from Digital Chat Station joins rumors of a larger sensor, and we may see the return of a vertical camera set up on the back of the device.

As for the iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 15 Pro, we are anticipating the addition of a periscopic lens. However, this feature is tipped to be an iPhone 15 Pro Max exclusive. 

Rumors of a new 8P, or eight element lens, for the iPhone 15 Pro main camera, have been dispelled, with Apple allegedly sticking with a 7P lens. More elements in a lens would result in more light being absorbed into the lens and less distortion in images, which could be essential for wide-angle lenses.

Apple will likely stick to their usual announcement pattern. As a result, we can expect the 2023 iPhone lineup to be announced from September 6 and the 2024 iPhone range to be launched at the same time 12 months later. For now, stay tuned to our iPhone 15 Pro Max hub for all the latest leaks. 

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Elliot Mulley-Goodbarne
Phones Writer

Elliot MulleyGoodbarne is a Staff Writer at Tom’s Guide covering news, reviews, buying guides with wit and charm. He has had a keen interest in mobile, tablets, laptops, and everything in between since his first phone, the Samsung U600. Starting at Mobile News, Elliot has been writing about mobile and the business of technology since 2016, and has edited four trade magazines in that time, attending award shows for three of them. He has attended a range of industry events including 5G launches, device announcements, and trade events, where he developed a nose for picking up on trends, interviewing executives, and networking with the tech community. In his spare time, Elliot can usually be found watching, playing, or attending sporting events. With season tickets to West Ham United and Surrey County Cricket Club he often spends weekends in winter in a foul mood and evenings in the summer with a smile on his face. Outside of sport Elliot enjoys cooking, pubs next to rivers, and chilling out with a G&T, Whiskey, or Port after a solid week of excellence.