One of the most highly anticipated iPhone features won’t arrive in next year’s models, after all. Apple will reportedly equip the iPhone 14 with a 48-megapixel rear camera before adding a periscope lens to the iPhone 15 in 2023, according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, which means we’ll have to wait to get that good super-zoom feature.
What makes this latest news especially noteworthy is that Kuo had led the iPhone 14 hype train last year when he claimed iPhones would be getting periscope cameras in 2022. This correction, and one he made earlier this year, mean Android phone makers will likely hang on to a distinct advantage over iPhones for another two years.
Already used by Samsung, Huawei, Google, and others, periscope lenses, or “folded” lenses, enable longer focal lengths (greater zoom range) in a compact footprint by using mirrors to reflect light onto a sensor (traditionally, the sensor sits behind the lens). Huawei and Oppo have demonstrated this tech in some of their flagship handsets; in the U.S., Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra is the standout example for its 100x “Space Zoom.”
There is some good news for anyone looking to upgrade their iPhone next year. Kuo wrote in a research note with TF International Securities (obtained by MacRumors) that the iPhone 14 could output both 48-MP and 12-MP images, suggesting the camera will use a technique called pixel binning where four smaller pixels are combined into one large “super pixel” to enhance low-light photos.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about this spec. Kuo had previously mentioned the 48-MP lens as being available for two “high-end models,” which we can assume to be the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. He also said the camera will allow for 8K video recording, which is reportedly the minimum recommended resolution for Apple’s rumored AR/VR headset.
Apple doesn’t confirm details about its products until its launch events, but multiple rumors claim the iPhone 14 lineup will keep its 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch screen sizes (no iPhone mini), but ditch the notch for a hole-punch selfie camera and under-display Face ID.