The smaller iPhone 16 Pro again rumored to jump to 5x optical zoom

Macworld

In most respects, Apple’s annual quartet of new iPhones can be neatly divided into two sets of identical twins. Last year’s iPhone 15 and 15 Plus differ only by screen and body size and battery capacity, and the same can largely be said of the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. But there are exceptions.

One feature that sets the 15 Pro Max apart from the rest of the range is its 5x optical zoom. The non-pro models are limited to tricks to get to 2x because they haven’t got a telephoto lens and even the 15 Pro is stuck at 3x optical zoom because the new Tetraprism lens is limited to the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

But the Tetraprism lens–so named because it reflects light four times before it hits the sensor–won’t remain a Pro Max exclusive for much longer. The latest report (via AppleInsider) indicates that as of the late-2024 generation, both Pro handsets will get this lens, and thus both will boast optical zooms of 5x.

“Following the successful launch of the iPhone 15 Pro Max with its exclusive Tetraprism telephoto zoom lens, the industry is expected to see an increase in the adoption of periscopic lens modules,” the report notes. “Apple plans to bring this advanced hardware upgrade to the iPhone 16 Pro, making it accessible to more users in the Pro series.”

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this rumor. And it makes sense in a lot of ways. Apple likes to bring out a feature as an exclusive for its most expensive products, but will then filter them gradually down through the rest of the range. The Tetraprism was never likely to be limited to the Pro Max forever.

But it does raise one question: Will anything replace the Tetraprism lens as the Pro Max’s unique selling point? We’ll find out in September, but until then, you can keep with all the latest news and rumors with our regularly updated iPhone 16 superguide. Or, if you can’t wait until the fall to buy a new iPhone, get a great price on one of the current models with our roundup of the best iPhone deals.

iPhone

​Macworld Macworld

In most respects, Apple’s annual quartet of new iPhones can be neatly divided into two sets of identical twins. Last year’s iPhone 15 and 15 Plus differ only by screen and body size and battery capacity, and the same can largely be said of the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. But there are exceptions.

One feature that sets the 15 Pro Max apart from the rest of the range is its 5x optical zoom. The non-pro models are limited to tricks to get to 2x because they haven’t got a telephoto lens and even the 15 Pro is stuck at 3x optical zoom because the new Tetraprism lens is limited to the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

But the Tetraprism lens–so named because it reflects light four times before it hits the sensor–won’t remain a Pro Max exclusive for much longer. The latest report (via AppleInsider) indicates that as of the late-2024 generation, both Pro handsets will get this lens, and thus both will boast optical zooms of 5x.

“Following the successful launch of the iPhone 15 Pro Max with its exclusive Tetraprism telephoto zoom lens, the industry is expected to see an increase in the adoption of periscopic lens modules,” the report notes. “Apple plans to bring this advanced hardware upgrade to the iPhone 16 Pro, making it accessible to more users in the Pro series.”

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this rumor. And it makes sense in a lot of ways. Apple likes to bring out a feature as an exclusive for its most expensive products, but will then filter them gradually down through the rest of the range. The Tetraprism was never likely to be limited to the Pro Max forever.

But it does raise one question: Will anything replace the Tetraprism lens as the Pro Max’s unique selling point? We’ll find out in September, but until then, you can keep with all the latest news and rumors with our regularly updated iPhone 16 superguide. Or, if you can’t wait until the fall to buy a new iPhone, get a great price on one of the current models with our roundup of the best iPhone deals.

iPhone 

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