iPhone 15 Pro Max exclusive camera upgrade just tipped by leaker

iPhone 15 Pro Max
(Image credit: Ice Universe / Twitter)

One of the most persistent iPhone 15 Pro Max rumors is that the telephoto lens is going to get a major overhaul. A new periscope-style design is said to be coming, and that could see the phone’s optical zoom capabilities extend far beyond the current 3x magnification. 

As time goes on, it seems like that particular rumor is being reiterated more and more. Recently it was analyst Ming-Chi Kuo promising 5x-6x optical zoom. Now it’s leaker Unknownz21, who claims to have “finally received independent confirmation of this” over on Twitter.

Unknownz21 doesn’t mention how much optical zoom this new camera setup will offer, stating that there aren’t any other details to reveal at this time. However, it is just one one leaker agreeing that the upgrade is coming, which makes it all the more likely to happen. And that’s going to be of great benefit to the iPhone 15 Pro Max and future iPhone models.

Unfortunately, it looks like the regular iPhone 15 Pro may not receive this upgrade, so that could be a reason to buy an iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 15 Pro this year. 

iPhone 15 Pro Max: Benefits of periscope camera lens

Periscope lenses have already been employed in many premium Android phones from the likes of Samsung, Huawei, Google and others for a number of years. The main benefit being that the design allows for greater optical zoom while maintaining a slim profile.

The thing about optical zoom is that it needs space to operate, and the greater the magnification the more space is needed. So by stacking the lens horizontally, as Apple has done previously, you’re limited by the overall thickness of the phone. The periscope-style system works as the name suggests, bending light from the camera lens by 90 degrees and into a vertically-stacked telephoto lens array.

Because phones are always taller than they are thick, it means there’s better space availability — allowing phone makers to add much higher levels of magnification. It's up to 10x in the case of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

There have also been rumors that the iPhone 15 Pro Max could get a variable zoom camera — one with two levels of optical zoom in the same lens. Samsung is also said to be adding this to the Galaxy S24 Ultra, with rumors pointing towards 3x and 10x zoom.

It’s currently unclear what sort of magnification we could expect from Apple’s attempt. If the lens is offering up to 6x magnification, as rumored, then I suspect we won’t get more than 3x zoom at the lower level. But that’s something we’ll have to wait to hear more about.

The iPhone 15 series is expected to be unveiled later this year, likely in early September if Apple sticks to its usual release schedule. The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max are also tipped for a titanium alloy design that's lighter and tougher as well as a more powerful new 3nm A17 Bionic chip. In the meantime, you can check out our iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro Max hubs to stay on top of the latest news and rumors.

WWDC 2023 isn’t too far away either, and should see a huge range of new announcements — including the Apple VR/AR headset and Apple's new iOS 17 software for your iPhone. 

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.