The iPhone 15 Pro Max's tetraprism camera is the reason you can't get one yet

iPhone 15 Pro front and back
(Image credit: Apple)

If you've been trying to preorder a new iPhone 15 Pro Max since it went up on September 15 you're probably well aware that delivery estimates have stretched far into the future. Now we know why that might be and, importantly, that Apple is working to fix it.

The issue, we're told, is that not only did Apple begin manufacturing the iPhone 15 Pro Max last but it also seems to be struggling a little with its big new feature — a tetraprism camera lens that enables the best iPhone's new 5x zoom capabilities.

But fear not, for Apple is trying to find a way to improve the output of those big iPhones in an attempt to reduce delivery estimates that are counted in weeks, not days after the September 22 release.

Bending light ain't easy

It appears that Apple simply had less time to build iPhone 15 Pro Max models than it did others, with supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo noting it was the last model to begin production. But that isn't all.

In the same Medium post, we're told that Apple is facing "production challenges" that aren't so pronounced in other models. Kuo later clarified what those challenges are in a further Medium post.

"The most significant supply bottleneck for the iPhone 15 Pro Max is currently the tetraprism compact camera module (CCM), which is exclusively supplied by LGIT," Kup says. But there's a fix in the works, with Kuo adding that "to improve the CCM production yield, Apple has urgently increased the specifications of the tetraprism lens exclusively supplied by Largan to address the CCM yield issues caused by assembly tolerances."

That suggests that Apple is aware of the problem and is making moves to ensure that more iPhone 15 Pro Maxes will hit stores as quickly as possible. But for now, at least, it's going to be hard to get your hands on the big iPhone if you haven't already placed your preorder.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.