iPhone 16 Pro just tipped for huge telephoto camera upgrade

iPhone 15 Pro Max shown in hand
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple's big photography upgrade for the iPhone 16 Pro could be its telephoto camera, which Economic Daily News reports will receive a new type of lens.

The top iPhone 16 models' new lenses, likely provided by Apple's current lens provider Largan, as well as new partner Hoya, will use an improved method of molding the glass lenses. Lenses made this way are supposedly thinner, lighter, smaller and can offer more powerful magnification.

This new lens fabrication method will only be used for the telephoto lens, the report continues. The given reason is that this new production method is expensive, and requires a higher level of precision than normal camera lenses, resulting in a lower number of usable lenses than conventional means.

The slow production of these lenses is apparently also the reason Apple's made this decision fairly early in the iPhone 16's production process. Which is why we're subsequently hearing about it from EDN's industry sources.

But the price increase is more concerning from an iPhone user's perspective. With these lenses apparently costing 10 - 20% more to produce, the risk of a full price hike for next year's pro iPhones seems more likely. We already saw the basic price of the iPhone 15 Pro Max increase this year, albeit in return for a higher base storage capacity and a new 5x tetraprism lens.

Another big zoom upgrade

An improved lens sounds like a good upgrade for the iPhone 16 Pro, but it may not be the biggest thing happening to even the telephoto camera next year. 

We've heard before that the iPhone 16 Pro should get the same 5x zoom that the iPhone 15 Pro Max has, and that the iPhone 15 Pro missed out on. Perhaps this new lens is part of Apple's plan to increase the zoom of its smaller Pro phone, or it's managed to shrink other parts of the tetraprism lens that made the camera too large for use in the iPhone 15 Pro.

Other rumors for the 2024 iPhones include the Pro models getting larger bodies and displays and the addition of a Capture button to all models. We'll no doubt hear more, including about this new lens, between now and the assumed launch window of next September.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.