According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, next year’s iPhone 17 Pro Max will get an improved 48-megapixel Tetraprism camera for improved photo quality and zoom functionality.

iPhone 15 Pro cameras
In his latest investor note on Medium, Kuo noted that the main spec change would be a 1/2.6” 48MP CIS sensor, an improvement over the 1/3.1” 12MP sensor expected to be used in this year’s iPhone 16 Pro models.

Both the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max are expected to get Tetraprism telephoto lenses in 2024, rather than the tech being limited to the larger Pro Max like the iPhone 15 series. (The iPhone 15 Pro has a 12-megapixel telephoto camera that can achieve 3x zoom, but the iPhone 15 Pro Max uses an improved telephoto system that can achieve 5x zoom.) That means both iPhone 16 Pro models will have at least 5x optical zoom and at least 25x digital zoom.

Kuo said he’s not sure at this point whether only the iPhone 17 Pro Max will get the upgraded Tetraprism camera. But if it’s exclusive to that model, then both iPhone 18 Pro models will get it in 2026. The upgraded Tetraprism camera will require all-new prisms, which should have a shorter form factor to reduce the camera’s height, Kuo added.

The analyst’s report confirms a claim made last year by Haitong International Securities’ Jeff Pu. Pu had said in December that the iPhone 17 Pro Max’s upgraded 48MP telephoto lens would be optimized for use with Apple Vision Pro. Current iPhone 15 Pro models can record spatial video with 3D depth for display on the Vision Pro — when held in landscape orientation, the main and ultra-wide lenses combine to record spatial video with added depth.

Pu previously said that both iPhone 16 Pro models will have a 48MP ultra-wide lens, which would make the iPhone 17 Pro Max the first iPhone model to feature an all-48MP rear camera system. To put that in perspective, current iPhone 15 Pro models have 48MP main, 12MP ultra-wide, and 12MP telephoto lenses.

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