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The iPhone 15 Pro Max is set to feature a periscope camera lens that will be exclusively supplied by Largan, according to the latest note by Apple industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. This is the first time that Apple is incorporating a periscope lens in its iPhone lineup, and it is expected to enable users to zoom in further without any blurriness.
Rumors about the periscope lens in the iPhone have been circulating since early 2020 when Kuo first mentioned the possibility. The analyst originally stated that the periscope lens would be a feature of the iPhone 14 Pro, but that never materialized. Since then, Kuo has maintained that the lens type will exclusively debut in the iPhone 15 Pro Max, a prediction that analyst Jeff Pu has also made.
In a periscope system, light entering the telephoto lens is reflected by an angled mirror toward the camera’s image sensor. This change in direction allows for a longer “folded” telephoto setup inside phones, which is what enables users to zoom in further without any blurriness.
However, Kuo’s latest note contextualizes the periscope lens announcement in terms of two risks that Apple camera lens suppliers face going forward. The first is high inventory levels, which could lead to a weaker-than-expected second quarter this year.
The second is suppliers being unable to profit from periscope camera lenses. According to Kuo, the average selling price for Largan’s shipped periscope camera lenses is around $4 (including the prisms), which is notably lower than the market consensus of $4.50 to $5 or higher. Kuo claims that the $4 price means Largan cannot profit from the periscope camera lens.
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Looking ahead, Kuo believes that both iPhone 16 Pro models in 2024 will use the same or similar periscope lens as the one used in the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Apple has a trend of setting apart standard and Pro models by reserving certain higher-end hardware features for the latter, and this is expected to continue.
However, Kuo also anticipates that Apple supplier Genius will start supplying periscope lenses for the iPhone 16, at which point the component’s price will be even lower, negatively impacting lens suppliers.