Apple Awarded Patent for Periscope Lens

Could be included in iPhones as early as 2022

Apple is expected to include a camera with a periscope lens in at least one iPhone model in the next year or so.

Despite the iPhone 13 still being a complete mystery, rumors and reports about the iPhone 14—or whatever Apple decides to call 2022’s iteration of the smartphone—already have started to surface. Chief among these is a belief that Apple will include a periscope lens in one of the cameras. A recently granted patent, which was first reported by Patently Apple, has been discovered.

Apple iPhone face down on a surface

Omar Al-Ghosson / Unsplash

9To5Mac expects the lens to play a major part in 2022’s iPhone.

The abstract description included in the patent reads:

"A folded camera that includes two light folding elements such as prisms and an independent lens system, located between the two prisms, which includes an aperture stop and a lens stack. The lens system may be moved on one or more axes independently of the prisms to provide autofocus and/or optical image stabilization for the camera. The shapes, materials, and arrangements of the refractive lens elements in the lens stack may be selected to capture high-resolution, high-quality images while providing a sufficiently long back focal length to accommodate the second prism."

Periscope lenses are normally used to reach longer zoom levels in cameras, but they can be especially tricky in smartphones, as they require more space between the components than regular lenses. As such, many companies rely on folded designs that use mirrors and prisms to create the effect needed.

With the proposed lens included in the patent, 9To5Mac says that the iPhone could reasonably offer a 10x zoom level.

Design plans for an Apple periscope lens from an approved patent

Apple

Reports of a periscope lens in the iPhone 14 have been swirling since a noted Apple analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, reported that Apple would include the lens in the 2022 iPhone lineup. With the discovery of this patent, those reports seem to be gaining more traction.

Of course, we are still months away from learning anything real about next year’s iPhone model. As such, it is unclear how large a part the periscope lens will play in the overall design.

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