Apple may have been the first to launch a phone with a dedicated telephoto camera (the iPhone 7 Plus from 2016), but it has been quite conservative with focal lengths since. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that won’t change soon.
He is pushing back his original forecast by a year and now says that Apple will adopt periscope lenses in 2023. This is more in line with his most recent forecasts. There will be an intermediate step, next year’s iPhones will feature upgraded optics on their telephoto lenses (they’ll still be the classic design, however).
The main camera lens will be upgraded too, going from a 7P design to 8P, which should improve the optical performance by 10-20%. The yields of 8P lenses are quite low right now, making them expensive, but they are expected to improve to 70-80% yield rages in the second half of 2022.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max has a 2.5x telephoto lens and a 5P fixed-focus ultra wide lens
This year’s iPhones will kick off the optical upgrades by improving the ultra wide-angle lens. It will switch from a 5P to a 6P design or at least the iPhone 13 Pro duo will. The new lens should have a brighter aperture and autofocus too.
Face ID is here to stay for now, but its hardware will change slightly. Starting in 2021 Apple will use a plastic lens instead of glass. This will lead to a reshuffling of component suppliers with Largan coming out ahead and Lante Optics and SCHOTT Optics losing ground.
This could be the last year of Face ID on iPhone, however, as previous reports from Kuo indicate that Apple will switch to an in-display fingerprint reader in 2022 and replace the notch with a punch hole.