iPhone 12 could have telescopic telephoto lens, according to patent

A few new patents suggest that future iPhones – perhaps even the iPhone 12, which will be available next year – could use multiple lenses stacked in front of an angled telescope-style mirror to create better optical telephoto lenses without major camera bumps.

If that sounds familiar, you can Huawei P30 Pro Can you achieve a 5x telephoto lens? Stack the lenses lengthwise in the phone body and use a mirror to bend the receiver out of the back of the phone. For once, Apple is following Huawei.

The US Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple two patents on Tuesday – The first for a "folded lens system with five refractive lenses" and the second for a lens with "three refractive lenses". The paperwork of the former contains this diagram – note that the shorter end on the back of the phone points outward, presumably where camera blocks are on modern phones.

(Image credits: USPTO)

The five-piece version offers the equivalent of 35mm focal length in the range of 50-85mm for a wide-angle camera, Apple Insider emphasized. Similarly, the three-part version offers 35 mm equivalent imaging between 80 and 200 mm, which would be useful for telephoto lenses. In other words, Apple may not use this setup for horizontally stacking with mirrors, not just for zoom photography.

The advantage of redirecting most of the magnification horizontally is obvious. Mobile phones can only stack as many lenses within the current thickness of cell phones: The iPhone 11 Pro is 8.1 mm (or about 1/3 inch) thick, and consumers do not like camera blocks that protrude far beyond the back of cell phones.

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Higher optical magnification – which is fundamentally superior to digital zoom – without the use of thicker phones, is a design gain (though more space must be created in the bowels of the phones to make room).

Patents promise technology for future iPhones – sooner or later

Whether these designs actually fit in Apple's next smartphone, which supposedly referred to as the iPhone 12, or in a future model, can not be said. Hell, it could never end up in an iPhone if the company finds a superior strategy for zooming in – or just giving up on the idea altogether.

Given the fact that Huawei has already realized this design in a serial phone – with zoom lenses, with which it was placed on top of ours best camera phones List – we can imagine Apple looking for ways to improve the photographic capabilities of its next flagship phones. If this is not the case, we are curious what Apple ultimately selects.

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