When Apple announced the iPhone 15 Pro Max in September of 2023 it brought with it the first tetraprism zoom lens to the iPhone, allowing for a much improved zoom lens capability than anything that had come before it. However, that improved zoom didn't make its way to the iPhone 15 Pro but that could all change with the iPhone 16 Pro according to a new report.
It was thought that the iPhone 15 Pro simply wasn't big enough to accommodate the tetraprism lens required to make the 5x optical zoom possible, which is why it was only available in the iPhone 15 Pro Max. However, according to the well-connected supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, we should expect the smaller model to get the same camera capabilities as the big one in 2024.
Ming-Chi Kuo was writing as part of a larger Medium post when he said that it's expected the 5x tetraprsim lens will also be available on the iPhone 16 Pro next year. For reference, the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro before it only have a 3x optical zoom, meaning anything beyond that has to resort to digital zoom which results in a far worse photo.
The new camera isn't likely to be the only improvement to come to the new iPhone 16 Pro, either. There are ongoing rumors that the phone will get a larger display - up from the current 6.1 inches to the larger 6.3 inches. That extra size could be what gives Apple the additional internal space required to fit the tetraprism lens.
We will have to wait a while to find that out, of course. The iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max aren't expected to be unveiled until September 2024, and while there will likely be plenty of leaks ahead of time it is still likely to be months before we can be even close to confident in their accuracy.
It also isn't yet clear whether Apple intends to improve the current tetraprism lens or if it will simply be transplanted from the iPhone 15 Pro Max into next year's high-end models. There is always the chance that Apple could seek to push beyond the 5x optical zoom and go for something more impressive, especially as companies like Samsung continue to push the zoom envelope in ways Apple has simply been unable to match to date. it seems unlikely that Apple will meaningfully change the current 5x zoom, however.