There could be a bigger optical zoom in Apple’s next iPhone 14 and I couldn’t be more excited.
There’s reason to believe that Apple is gearing up to put an ultra-zoom-capable camera (above the current 3X) in the next iPhone. According to camera module maker TheElec, Jahwa Electronics, which builds modules that combine optical image stabilization (OIS) and autofocus, gave Apple a tour of the South Korean company’s facilities in Gumi. , and Jahwa is now spending 191 billion won to build a whole new production line to support a new device.
Admittedly, those two – the Apple Tour and a fresh install – don’t necessarily equate to Apple iPhone 14 Pro ultra or superzoom, but I’m willing to read the tea leaves. And it’s not just me.
9to5Mac notes that Jahwa provides camera modules to Samsung and Jahwa’s technologies are often used to support a periscope camera system.
You need a periscope
Why is the periscope so important?
With the iPhone 13 Pro, Apple ran into the physical limits of linear lens technology, only offering 3X optical zoom while rivals like Samsung manage 10X.
The only way to get this zoom level is to increase the distance between the lens on the outside of the smartphone and the sensor. Samsung has solved this puzzle by building a pericope design inside the phone that sends the image from the lens through a prism where it makes a 90 degree turn to travel a greater distance to a sensor pointed at the top edge of the phone.
Apple can’t pass the 3X (or possibly 5X) optical zoom threshold without introducing similar technology. While it’s not building it on its own, it makes sense for Apple to work with a third-party vendor. It’s also Apple’s practice to require custom designs and manufacturing from its partners, which brings us back to this new Jahwa production facility.
It might not
Can Jahwa build this factory to supply camera modules that could include periscope technology in time for the planned iPhone 14 launch in September or October 2022? Maybe not and most industry analysts, including famous industry oracle Ming-Chi Kuo), think we won’t see an iPhone with a periscope until 2023.
Still, an iPhone fan can dream and, to be honest, I don’t know if Apple can afford to wait another year while rivals like Samsung slip away on the optical zoom front.
Bigger zoom doesn’t just affect optical options. As we’ve seen with Samsung, once you have longer optical zoom, you can combine it with nifty AI and image algorithms to create things like Space Zoom.
When I tested the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra earlier this year, I was amazed at what I could capture with the 30X and 100X Space Zoom. I don’t think any of this would have been possible without the 10X optical zoom as a base. (You can see a sample image above.)
Apple has a long history of industry-leading image processing. Imagine what it could do with 10X optical zoom supported by a periscope. Incidentally, the support for autofocus and optical image stabilization, which Jahwa brings to the mix, is crucial when you increase the zoom level. Higher zoom – both optical and digital – means every little movement and handshake is multiplied by ten, and without OIS and autofocus, all your zoom footage could look like a blurry mess.
A periscope-supported Zoom Apple iPhone 14 Pro this year or next is by no means a done deal, but all the pieces seem to be falling into place and, I think, Apple knows it’s time to do it. up his zoom game.