iPhone 15 Pro Max could blow away iPhone 15 Pro — here's why

iPhone 15 Pro renders by Technizo
(Image credit: Technizo)

It looks like the iPhone 15 Pro Max will get an exclusive feature the iPhone 15 Pro will miss out on. 

According to MacRumors, the iPhone 15 Pro Max's new periscope zoom will allow for "up to double the optical zoom of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which maxes out at 3x optical zoom. So that means you could get up to 6x zoom on the new Pro Max. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted as much back in July of last year. 

The regular iPhone 15 Pro would presumably stick with the same iPhone 14 Pro Max 3x telephoto lens, which means you would have to spring for the bigger and pricier iPhone to get all the best features. 

The benefit of a periscope zoom lens is that it uses folded optics to reflect light onto the lens, increasing the zoom power without increasing the size of the camera. So, conceivably, the iPhone 15 Pro Max could have a smaller camera bump than the regular iPhone 15 Pro while offering a longer zoom range. 

The other rumor we've heard recently is that the iPhone 15 Pro Max will offer a variable zoom lens, which would give you a choice of zoom levels within a single lens. By contrast, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra features two telephoto zoom lenses of 3x and 10x. 

A new supplier enters the picture

It looks like Apple is betting big on its periscope lens for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, because MacRumors also reports that Apple will likely bring on a second supplier for the component. 

We told you recently that Largan Precision was going to be the main supplier of the periscope zoom for Apple's flaghip. But now DigiTimes reports that Genius Electronic Optical (GSEO) will be an additional supplier of the module.

The addition of a second supplier could mean that Apple is feeling bullish about demand for the iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 15 Pro. And Apple CEO Tim Cook said recently that based on what they've seen in terms of iPhone sales that people are “willing to really stretch to get the best they can they can afford."

iPhone 15 Pro Max will overshadow 15 Pro

iPhone 15 Pro Max

(Image credit: Ice Universe / Twitter)

The regular iPhone 15 Pro will have plenty new to offer based on the rumors and leaks we've seen, and most of those features will be shared wit the Pro Max. These should include a new titanium design that's tougher yet lighter and a powerful new A17 Bionic chip that could once again blow away the best Android phones

We've also heard that the iPhone 15 Pro series could offer a new Action button that replaces the ringer switch, one that could offer all sorts of shortcuts. However, it looks like the rumored solid-state volume controls could be nixed due. 

But if Apple does indeed reserve the periscope zoom for the iPhone 15 Pro Max only, it will likely draw a lot of attention and sway many early adopters towards Apple's top-end flagship. As you'll see in our zoom shootout between the iPhone 14 Pro Max vs Pixel 7 Pro vs Galaxy S22 Ultra, Apple has a long way to go.

And I personally would not pay a grand or more for a phone that offers a weaker zoom.

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Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.