Apple’s next-gen iPhones may feature a camera technology from its arch-rival Samsung. According to the Korean media, the iPhone 15 Pro Max will employ actuators for the “Folded Zoom” periscope telephoto lens made by South Korean firms LG Innotek and Jahwa Electronics. The latter reportedly developed its actuator technology in collaboration with Samsung.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max is expected to be the only iPhone model this year with a periscope telephoto zoom camera. Rumors are that Apple will offer 6X folded optical magnification. While not as high as Samsung’s 10X optical zoom, which has been around since the Galaxy S21 Ultra days in early 2021, it’s still nice progress from the 3X optical zoom on last year’s iPhone 14 Pro Max. But this upgrade is requiring Apple to switch its supplier.
According to The Elec, Apple’s current suppliers of folded zoom actuators Japan Alps and Mitsumi cannot supply the component for the upgraded solution. The existing iPhones employ actuators that move the lens barrel with a spring. This tech is slower, less accurate, and power-hungry than what Samsung and Jahwa Electronics have co-developed. The latter solution is a ball guide type actuator where the lens moves as the ball rolls. It allows for faster and more accurate optical zooming.
Jahwa Electronics will reportedly supply 30 percent of the required actuator volume for the iPhone 15 Pro Max. LG Innotek, which also has expertise in this field, gets the remaining 70 percent of orders. Japan Alps and Mitsumi, meanwhile, will continue making the spring-loaded actuators for the rest of the 2023 iPhone lineup. No other iPhone is getting the upgraded zoom tech this year. In 2024, Apple plans to employ this tech on the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max.
Samsung may take smartphone zoom camera to a new level in 2024
While Apple may just be preparing to offer 6X optical zoom, Samsung is reportedly gearing up to take smartphone zoom cameras to a whole new level next year. As said earlier, Galaxy flagships have had 10X optical zoom since 2021, along with 100X digital zoom. The Galaxy S23 Ultra will bring further improvements to that in a couple of weeks.
But in 2024, the Korean firm may introduce a whole new type of lens with variable zoom capabilities, something that is mostly limited to DSLRs or professional cameras. We are also hearing about up to 150X digital zoom on the Galaxy S24 Ultra. If true, more information about this solution should start surfacing soon. Perhaps Galaxy S24 rumors will come more frequently once Samsung is done and dusted with the Galaxy S23 launch. The new flagships arrive on February 1.