The iPhone 16 Pro looks ever more likely to get the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s great camera

iPhone 15 Pro review back handheld angled camera
The iPhone 15 Pro (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

It’s still early days for iPhone 16 rumors, but one of the most persistent claims we’ve heard so far is that the iPhone 16 Pro will get a 5x optical zoom camera, just like the iPhone 15 Pro Max has. Multiple sources have said as much, and now one of the biggest names in Apple leaks is saying so for a second time.

Specifically, Ming-Chi Kuo (an analyst with a great track record for Apple information) has claimed in a Medium post (via MacRumors) that Apple is likely to include a tetraprism camera in the iPhone 16 Pro. The 5x zoom camera in the iPhone 15 Pro Max uses a tetraprism design. So while the exact specs of the camera aren’t mentioned here, it’s likely that Kuo is referring to the same hardware.

Apple’s tetraprism, for reference, is a camera design that includes a folded glass structure, allowing light to be reflected four times, and in turn allowing for longer range optical zoom than standard telephoto cameras. It’s a similar idea to a periscope camera like the 10x optical zoom the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra uses, but more compact.

That said, it’s possibly still not compact enough to fit comfortably in the iPhone 15 Pro, as the small size of this handset has previously been touted as a reason for this camera not being included. The iPhone 16 Pro might be slightly larger though, with reports pointing to a screen of roughly 6.3 inches, up from 6.1 inches on the iPhone 15 Pro.

Improvements in yield

However, size issues might not be the only reason Apple reserved this 5x zoom camera for the iPhone 15 Pro Max. According to Kuo, Largan – the company supplying this lens – had a production yield of only about 40% in the third quarter of 2023. So in other words the majority of the lenses Largan built weren’t up to the required standard.

It’s possible then that Apple felt it would only have enough of these lenses to equip one phone with them. And that’s an issue which may not be faced next year, as Kuo claims his latest survey indicates that Largan now has a yield of at least 70%.

So between a possibly larger screen and likely improved component yields, it makes sense that the iPhone 16 Pro might have this camera, especially as Apple doesn’t often differentiate the Pro and Pro Max models in ways other than screen and battery size.

We’d still take this with a pinch of salt, but Kuo isn’t the only voice claiming the iPhone 16 Pro will get this camera upgrade. We’ve also previously heard this iPhone 16 Pro camera claim from analyst Jeff Pu and elsewhere.

So it’s very likely that when Apple unveils the iPhone 16 Pro – probably in September – it will have the same telephoto camera as the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Though it might still not match the iPhone 16 Pro Max, as one early report has suggested that the 16 Pro Max will be able to zoom even further.

Still, you don’t have to wait for either of these handsets to get one of the best camera phones, and we’re in Black Friday week, so now’s a great time to buy an iPhone. Check out the best Black Friday iPhone deals for the latest offers.

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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, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.