Periscope lenses could be the secret behind iPhone 14 camera bump rumors

iPhone 14 render
iPhone 14 render (Image credit: Jon Prosser x RendersByIan)

I'm still not really sure how I'm typing this, but yesterday saw the first real leaks of what could turn out to be iPhone 14. No, you didn't miss iPhone 13 — that's coming next week. But the new iPhone 14 leak, in the form of renders, has me asking one question — how?!

No, not how did Front Page Tech seemingly clap eyes on iPhone 14 prototypes. I'm not even pondering why Apple is ditching the notch in favor of a hole. I'm wondering how those cameras appear to be flush with the back of iPhone 14.


There are a couple of potential answers to that question. The first, which seems to be the approach Jon Prosser thinks is the winner, is to make iPhone 14 heckin chonkier. And it would need to be — iPhone 13 is expected to sport a bigger camera bump than iPhone 12 and nobody would call that small. iPhone 14's cameras are sure to be even more impressive in terms of performance — just imagine how thick the phone would need to be to accommodate them. Very thick. That's how thick.

That doesn't seem like the Apple thing to do, even in the post-Ives era of buttons, ports, and keyboards that work. Instead, is it possible that the real reason those cameras are flush is something to do with a patent Apple was awarded back in July? See, that patent was for a periscope lens.

Apple Periscope Camera Patent

Apple Periscope Camera Patent (Image credit: Patently Apple)

I know very little about periscopes if I'm honest — I know Twitter had a video streaming thing that used the name and I've seen Hunt For Red October. But I do know that they bounce light off mirrors so you can effectively see around corners. That's what Apple could be planning for a future iPhone and it's what other phone makers already do to allow for incredible levels of zoom without camera bumps the size of, well, you get the idea.

Could Apple use the same technology not to give an iPhone 100x zoom, but to instead give it a modest level of zoom while simply making the bump less ... bumpy?

Maybe. And then, maybe not. Not being a certified periscope expert means I've no idea how much internal space this would take up and that's space Apple could give to batteries and the special fairy dust that makes iPhones, well, iPhones. Bit it's surely a possibility, right?

But for now, can we just get iPhone 13 out of the way? It's going to be a big week, folks! We still have the best iPhone ever made to come, even if the next best iPhone ever made is already looking pretty sweet!

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.