According to a report from renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the upcoming iPhone 16 Pro is rumored to feature a 5x optical zoom camera. This aligns with Apple’s strategy of offering exclusive features and pushing customers towards higher-priced models. The iPhone 15 Pro Max, specifically, is predicted to sell 35 million units by the end of this year.
Kuo stated, “The iPhone 15 Pro Max order for this year has been revised upward to 35 million units, serving as the primary growth driver for Apple’s iPhone business in the fourth quarter of 2023.” This indicates significant interest in Apple’s first phone with folded optics zoom.
Furthermore, it is reported that both the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will be equipped with quad-reflective telephoto cameras and maintain high specifications to ensure optimal camera performance and production yields. Kuo predicts that iPhone shipments featuring quad-reflective telephoto cameras will grow by about 110% year-over-year to reach 70-80 million units in 2024.
Apple’s implementation of the Tetraprism folded optics zoom solution allows for increased zoom range without requiring a periscope-style kit, which takes up more space in a phone. Rather than using a periscope design, the Tetraprism solution bounces light back and forth between prisms to artificially extend the focal length and zoom capabilities of the camera. This solution offers a potentially cheaper alternative for achieving 5x magnification.
However, the challenges associated with making the Tetraprism lens in large quantities could increase the component’s price by 30%. Apple is expected to search for alternative suppliers for the lens by April to mitigate this cost increase.
Considering the higher cost of these new zoom camera components, it is likely that the price of the iPhone 16 Pro will be raised. In the past, manufacturers who have implemented periscope-style zoom cameras, such as Huawei, have expressed concerns about the high prices of these components, which negatively impact profit margins. Apple may have found a more cost-effective solution with the folded optics zoom, but it still adds to the overall production cost. As a result, the iPhone 16 Pro price could start at $1,099, up from the current price of the iPhone 15 Pro.
In summary, the iPhone 16 Pro is expected to feature a 5x optical zoom camera and will be part of Apple’s strategy to offer exclusive features and drive customers towards higher-priced models. The use of Tetraprism folded optics zoom allows for increased zoom range without the need for a periscope-style kit. However, the production challenges associated with this technology could result in a 30% increase in component cost and potentially contribute to a higher price for the iPhone 16 Pro.