Samsung could end up helping Apple greatly improve the camera array on future iPhone models
According to the English language version of ET News, Apple is looking for suppliers that can deliver "folded cameras." Such a component would be used to improve the optical zoom capability on future iPhone models. The folded camera has been used by other manufacturers including (but not limited to) Samsung and Huawei and are also called periscope cameras. That's because they refract light like a periscope and the lens and sensors are placed horizontally instead of vertically.
Apple, according to sources familiar with the company's thinking process, already has had talks with a particular company to obtain patented "folded camera" technology and patents. Using the periscope, an upcoming iPhone model should be "able to provide high-magnification optical zoom without affecting the thickness of a smartphone. In other words, even with a more powerful optical zoom, the iPhone won't necessarily need to have a larger camera bump.
Apple wants to use a folded camera to improve the Zoom on a future iPhone model
Among the relatively few companies that offer "folded cameras" is Samsung which used it on the Galaxy S20 Ultra's 100x Space Zoom. Samsung acquired many of the patents needed for this technology when it acquired Israel's Corephotonics last year. An official from the camera module industry said, "Ball-type actuator is the key to folded camera, and patents related to the actuator are in possession of Corephotonics that was recently acquired by Samsung Electronics. It is heard that Apple is not able to easily design folded camera structure due to patent issues."