Don't expect an iPhone with a periscope camera until at least 2022

Don't expect an iPhone with a periscope camera until at least 2022
iPhone 12 Pro concept render

Smartphone manufacturers have focused heavily on the camera department in recent years. Apple is no different – it introduced a triple-camera system last year – and now analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has revealed what people should (and shouldn’t) expect from the company in 2020.

Better autofocus is in the works for the iPhone 12

In his latest report to investors for TF Securities, Ming-Chi Kuo claims that Apple has reached agreements with two new suppliers to fulfill orders for lenses and other camera components starting later this year.

The suppliers in question are Semco, which is considered to be one of the best lens suppliers in South Korea, and Sunny Optical, a highly respected company within the Chinese supply chain.

Apple hopes to soon take advantage of their participation, in particular that of Semco, by adopting an improved autofocus system on the iPhone 12 series. It will use a ball-based voice coil motor rather than the current spring-based design.

That should be accompanied by new sensor-shift image stabilization technology in the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max, as Kuo himself reported months ago. Unfortunately, for reasons unknown to us, the implementation may not make it onto the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro.

Sensor-shift image stabilization tech essentially moves around the camera sensor to compensate for external movements. That makes it fundamentally different from the optical image stabilization (OIS) implementation used at the moment which moves the lens instead.

There are no major differences in image quality output, but sensor-shift image stabilization can be combined with any lens, unlike its counterpart. Image stabilization on the ultra-wide-angle lens could, therefore, be possible.

But there will be no periscope camera until... 2022!

Apple is understood to be working on improvements to its zooming system too. It offers 2x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom on the iPhone 11 series but is expected to upgrade that to 3x optical zoom and 30x hybrid zoom on the iPhone 12 Pro.

It'll be made possible by an improved telephoto zoom camera, although those of you hoping for a more advanced periscope zoom system are out of luck. Ming-Chi Kuo says the latter isn’t scheduled to arrive until 2022.

When it finally happens, Semco could be responsible for over half of the orders. Largan, Alps, and Minebea will provide parts for the new mechanism.

Taiwanese supplier Genius Electrical Optical was previously mentioned by Kuo as a supplier for custom periscope lenses as well. These plans may have changed, however. 

Apple iPhone 12/Pro announcement, release, price

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro lineups are set to arrive in mid-September at a virtual event similar to WWDC 2020. Due to production delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic, though, shipments are expected at a later date.

Standard iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max models could hit shelves in late September, like last year, or in early October. The premium iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, however, are not expected until mid-to-late October. Of course, Apple has not officially confirmed any plans yet and these predicted timelines could change as a result of that.

As for pricing, expect the 5G iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max to start at $649 and $749 in the US respectively. The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, on the other hand, will reportedly be priced at $999 and $1,099.

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