iPhone 14 could be the first step in Apple’s plan to fracture the iPhone line

iPhone 13 Pro Max
An iPhone 13 Pro Max (Image credit: TechRadar)

From what we’ve heard so far, it sounds like the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will be very different phones to the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max, with more changes than we usually see on Pro models. But with the iPhone 15 line, Apple might significantly differentiate between the Pro and the Pro Max as well.

That’s because, according to Ming-Chi Kuo – an analyst with a great track record for Apple information – the iPhone 15 Pro Max might get a periscope camera, while the iPhone 15 Pro would be left with a more conventional telephoto one.

A periscope camera is able to zoom further, and we’ve heard rumors of one being added to the iPhone for a long time. But Kuo has additional information here, saying that it would likely offer either 5x or 6x optical zoom (up from 3x on Apple’s current telephoto modules), and that it would use a 12MP sensor and have an f/2.8 aperture.

That still wouldn’t be a match for the 10x optical zoom offered by the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, but it would certainly make for a big upgrade.

However, it’s an upgrade that you’d apparently only get if you opted for Apple’s biggest and most expensive iPhone – going Pro isn’t enough, you’d need to go Pro Max.

The standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Max meanwhile may well continue to lack any sort of telephoto lens, and could be less powerful too, given that the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max will reportedly have worse chipsets than the Pro models this year.

Analysis: a fracture that could heal

This split could make each of Apple’s iPhone 15 models feel vastly different to one another, but there might be at least a little more unity with the iPhone 16 line, as Kuo claims that for those phones both Pro models will get a periscope camera – and that it will be a similar one to what we see on the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

So perhaps we’ll return then to the main split being between the Pro models and the standard models, but you never know, Apple might have other features or upgrades up its sleeve that it could reserve for the iPhone 16 Pro Max.

Either way, for the next couple of years at least it sounds like there could be lots more to choose between the different iPhone models – which might mean fewer new ones end up on our lists of the best iPhones and best phones, since some may be significantly better than others.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.