There’s bad news for iPhone fans: The latest credible information suggests Apple is still years away from delivering a must-have technology most Android flagships already enjoy.

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Esteemed industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that Apple’s long-awaited periscopic camera technology won’t arrive until 2023, a year later than had been previously expected, according to a report by MacRumors. However, he did offer one important piece of good news for impatient iPhone photographers.

A periscopic or “folded” lens squeezes powerful zoom capabilities into the restricted dimensions of a smartphone by redirecting light sideways through the smartphone’s body via a sequence of lenses and mirrors or prisms. 

The technique has been used to great effect in rival smartphones such as Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra which is capable of up to 10x optical zoom. The iPhone 12 Pro Max, on the other hand, is limited to just 2.5x.

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While 2023 may still seem like a long way off, Kuo also predicted massive camera upgrades for iPhones due for release this year and in 2022. Flagships due in 2021 are expected to receive a higher quality telephoto lens featuring six elements rather than five. Additional lens elements can help to improve picture quality by reducing optical distortions which typically have to be corrected in software. Additionally, next year’s iPhone models are expected to feature a new “unibody” lens design, which will allow for smaller camera modules.

Despite Apple’s multiple patents pertaining to periscope technology, the company is clearly taking a very cautious approach when it comes to actually bringing it to market. The reasons behind this remain unknown, but while not everyone needs a powerful zoom lens, I feel the feature can’t come soon enough.

Apple’s current flagships deliver superb camera performance but the addition of powerful optical zoom will surely deliver a big boost in the one main area where they still lag several years behind.

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