Apple has been making some big strides with the camera system on its iPhones, particularly with the past couple of generations, but one thing that's been missing from all of them is a better telephoto lens. In the Android space, many phones are offering at least 3x optical zoom, with some - like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra - even using periscope cameras to get 10x zoom.
A few months ago, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple was expected to bring a periscope camera to the iPhone in 2022, and that was corroborated by another report towards the end of 2020. However, Kuo has now backtracked on the original statement and believes a periscope camera will only show up on the iPhone in 2023.
That's not to say we won't see some improvements before then, though. This year, Kuo believes the new high-end iPhones will upgrade the telephoto camera from a 5-element lens to a 6-element one, and in 2022, it will upgrade it again with a 7-element lens. No specific improvements to the zoom capabilities are mentioned, though.
The front-facing camera will also see improvements in 2022, with Kuo stating that Apple will be using a "unibody lens design" that makes the front camera module smaller. Earlier this month, the same analyst said that Apple will be going with a hole-punch camera for the 2022 iPhones, which this could help enable.
Outside of the iPhone, Ming-Chi Kuo also recently talked about the purported Apple AR headset, which he now believes will be coming next year. The headset will apparently feature 15 camera modules that will aid with the AR experience, and while current prototypes weigh between 200 and 300 grams, it's possible that Apple will bring that below 200 for the final production units. Kuo believes the headset will cost about $1000 and use micro-OLED displays.