Apple has created a new technology to dramatically improve the performance of future iPhones’ cameras.
The iPhone 14’s camera upgrades are expected to be significant, but Apple has many more tricks up its sleeves. A newly filed patent application reveals that the company has created a new type of telephoto lens that can deliver improved zoom capabilities.
The patent was obtained by PatentlyApple and describes a novel foldable telephoto lens with a single-prism design. Complex systems of prisms or mirrors are used to redirect light from a smartphone’s housing to fold lenses. However, it is possible to reduce picture quality by having light pass through multiple optical elements.
Apple’s prism is capable of using a variety of reflective surfaces, antireflective surfaces, and aperture masks to achieve the desired result. This allows for a reduction in the number of optical components.
Telephoto lenses that are small enough to be used on smartphones are often difficult to create, costly to make and usually deliver lower quality than the main lens. The most powerful optical zoom specifications currently are reserved for flagship devices. Apple has some work to do here, but designs such as this one point to exciting new zoom camera features in the iPhone’s future.