And perfectly in line with current Android trends, this year, Apple’s gearing up for another set of camera-focused iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models.
While the camera was indeed the focus of last year’s iPhone 13 Pro, alongside the jaw-dropping battery life on the iPhone 13 Pro Max, this year is shaping up to be somewhat special for Apple. Let’s see why…
iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max to get new 48MP primary cameras
While there’s nothing exactly groundbreaking about a camera resolution leap in the Android world, this will be a long-awaited change for Apple and its users.
As we’ve already discussed in several news stories and opinion pieces, this year’s iPhone 14 Pro is getting the first camera resolution upgrade since iPhone 6S (2015), when Apple jumped from an 8MP camera to a 12MP camera, mainly so the iPhone 6S could record 4K videos.
Dejavu or not, 2022 is the year when Apple will be switching to a 48MP primary camera on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max to give iPhone the ability to shoot 8K videos but also utilize pixel-binning and eventually even produce content that can be viewed with Apple’s VR headset.
I discuss the above-mentioned iPhone 14 Pro features and their future implications in this story, so head over there if you’d like to find out more!
iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max: Apple users to miss out on the best Android camera (again)
Zoom photos taken with the Pixel 6 Pro’s periscope camera (using Action Pan). Clockwise – 8x, 4x, 8x, 8x.
But now to the topic of today’s story, which is that iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max aren’t getting long-range zoom cameras. Plain and simple.
For those who aren’t familiar, periscope zoom cameras (in modern phones) arrived in 2019 with the Huawei P30 Pro (which I still keep in my drawer). Ever since then, Android phone-makers have found themselves in a bit of a zoom rat race. That’s why you might hear or read about manufacturers bragging about achievements such as “10x optical zoom”, “hybrid zoom”, “SuperRes zoom”, “moonshot” and more.
While thanks to its 3x and 10x zoom cameras, Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra wins when it comes to range and flexibility, my personal favorite zoom-er remains Google’s Pixel 6 Pro, which features a 48MP periscope shooter that also happens to incorporate the biggest sensor used in such a camera to date (shared with the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra and Huawei P50 Pro).
I’ve taken the absolute best photos I’ve ever seen come out of a phone, thanks to the Pixel 6 Pro’s 48MP periscope zoom lens. Yes, it’s a big deal. I wouldn’t make such a statement if I didn’t mean it.
Why iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max aren’t getting a periscope zoom camera
Too much innovation.
While technically, there’s no reason iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max can’t incorporate a Pixel 6 Pro-like periscope zoom shooter, there’s practical reasoning behind Apple’s decision to omit this camera and it’s all soApple.
In a nutshell, giving the iPhone 14 Pro series a new 48MP primary camera, a brand new periscope lens for long-range zoom, and a better ultra-wide-angle shooter sounds absolutely incredible, and this might certainly put iPhone 14 Pro ahead of the Pixel 6 Pro and even Galaxy S22 Ultra when it comes to overall camera package (considering Apple’s big lead in video quality).
However! all of this might lead to an uninspiring iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max camera feat in 2023, and that’s definitely something that Apple’s trying to avoid. As I hinted in the beginning, the primary differentiating factor between phones nowadays seems to be the camera.
Apple certainly doesn’t want to find itself in a situation where Tim Cook comes out on stage to say: “We’ve got nothing!”.
Yes, that’s why Apple likes to spread out its exciting new features and why insiders are now telling us that it will indeed be the iPhone 15 Pro that gets a periscope zoom lens. I plan to discuss exactly what this camera might look like and whether Apple will potentially need to equip the iPhone 15 Pro with four rear cameras instead of three in a future story. Stay tuned!
iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max: No periscope zoom lens – no buy?
I might be going straight to the iPhone 15 Pro…
Even if Apple’s reasons for saving the periscope zoom camera upgrade for the iPhone 15 Pro are… reasonable at the business and marketing level, I’m still somewhat disappointed by that outcome.
iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will come with the first front redesign since iPhone X in 2017. We are expecting a double punch-hole display, and even if that doesn’t look ideal, you can’t deny it’s better than the notch and also rather unique – it’ll give future iPhones some character.
Sure, the ultra-wide-angle camera of the iPhone needs tweaking to perform better in low light, and I’d argue Apple needs to dial back the sharpening and saturation in daylight photos, but as a whole, the iPhone is probably the most reliable phone camera available today.
What I’m trying to say is that, at this point, the periscope zoom lens for long-range reach feels like the missing part of a beautiful iPhone jigsaw puzzle. It’s not a gimmicky depth-sensing camera or a dedicated macro shooter.
A long-range zoom lens can change how you take photos and videos with your phone forever, which could be why I might skip iPhone 14 Pro and stick to my… iPhone 8, or get an iPhone 13 to go with my Pixel 6 Pro.
What about you? Would the omission of a periscope zoom camera affect your purchase decision or would the class leading video quality and battery life that’s expected to make a return on iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max be enough to convince you? Let me know!