Four years of Apple's iPhone camera plans just leaked, including iPhone 16 Pro

An iPhone 15 Pro Max against an abstract multi-colored retro background.
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future / Apple)

With the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro tipped for a launch in less than three months, four years of plans for Apple’s iPhone camera have just leaked, including a major upgrade to the iPhone 16 Pro. 

As revealed by top insider Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is readying a significant expansion of the tetraprism lens it uses to deliver 5x zoom in its best iPhone, the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Kuo reiterates previous reports confirming that “The iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max will feature a tetraprism camera (with the same specifications as the iPhone 15 Pro Max).” 

It has long been rumored that Apple plans to bring 5x zoom to both the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max, expanding the feature in the lineup this year. But Kuo has more where that came from, revealing plans for the iPhone 17 and beyond. 

The future of the iPhone camera 

Kuo goes on to state that Apple’s iPhone 17 Pro will feature “an upgraded tetraprism camera.” The same beefier optical zoom from the iPhone 16 Pro will be delivered by a 1/2.6" 48MP CIS, up from the 1/3.1" 12MP CIS in the 16 Pro. That means the lens capable of 5x zoom in the iPhone 17 will also shoot 48MP. 

Kuo says “It is currently uncertain whether only the iPhone 17 Pro Max will feature the upgraded tetraprism camera,” but that if it does, the iPhone 17 Pro will inherit the feature.

Apple is also expected to redesign the tetraprism mechanism with “a shorter form factor to reduce the camera’s height.” 

Looking even further ahead, Kuo says the iPhone 19 “will undergo another significant specification upgrade in the new iPhone models of 2027,” with even better optical zoom again. When it comes to Apple’s supply chain things get a lot murkier the further you look into the future, and plans are much more likely to change. But clearly, Kuo believes Apple has big plans for zoom technology on iPhone. 

iPhone 15 Pro Max | $0.1 at via Boost Infinite at Amazon

iPhone 15 Pro Max | $0.1 at via Boost Infinite at Amazon

Can't wait for 5x zoom? Get Apple's iPhone 15 Pro Max for just one cent when you buy it at Amazon with the right Boost Infinite wireless plan. 

Price check: $1,099 at Best Buy | $1,199 at Apple

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Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9