Apple has developed a new technology that could radically improve camera performance in future iPhones.
This year’s iPhone 14 lineup is expected to feature some big camera upgrades, but Apple still has plenty of tricks up its sleeve. According to a newly filed patent application, the company has developed a new type of telephoto lens capable of offering improved zoom capabilities.
The patent, taken over by PatentlyApple, details a new “folded” telephoto lens featuring a new single-prism design. Folded lenses typically use complex systems of prisms and/or mirrors to redirect light laterally into a smartphone case. However, passing light through multiple optical elements can cause potentially significant reductions in image quality.
Apple’s prism can deploy various configurations of reflective surfaces, anti-reflective surfaces, and aperture masks to produce the desired result without the need for as many optical components.
Telephoto lenses small enough to use on a smartphone are notoriously difficult to design, expensive to produce, and usually offer inferior quality to the main phone lens. That’s why the most powerful optical zoom specs are currently reserved for flagships. Apple still has some catching up to do in this area, but designs like this point to exciting new zoom cameras in the iPhone’s future.
Follow @paul_monckton on Instagram