iPhone 15 Pro Max: New camera to end unreal iPhone photography, leaving Samsung in the dust?

By now, you’ve probably come across at least one news story about the rumored periscope zoom camera that Apple is (supposedly) preparing for the new iPhone. After debuting on Android in 2019 with the Huawei P30 Pro, the modern version of the periscope zoom lens is now expected to finally make its way to the iPhone 15 Pro Max and possibly the smaller iPhone 15 Pro as well. Although we don’t know for sure. how much more powerful than the iPhone 14 Pro’s 3x zoom lens will be the new periscope shooter seems like a surprising or even “shocking” (by Apple standards) development for the iPhone 15 Pro’s primary, most important camera. Max (and the iPhone 15 Pro, we hope).

Believe it or not (and I certainly find it hard to believe), respected tipster Ice Universe now tells us that The iPhone 15 Pro Max will use a sensor with “specs… close to 1 inch — that’s for sure!”. Ice is a smartphone camera fanatic who is doing his own research, which could lend further credence to this surprising leak.

However, there are some rough stones surrounding the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s “almost 1-inch” camera that I can (at least) try to blend, if not turn. Obviously, we’re talking about the unreleased Sony sensor that was once supposed to grace Sony’s own Xperia Pro-II, a phone that was never released.

And apparently this sensor is about 2x more expensive than the 50MP IMX989 Xiaomi 13 Ultra, which is a “full” 1-inch type sensor. And apparently (according to the parent report) Apple could finally solve some of the biggest problems with the iPhone’s questionable image processing.

And obviously, I’ll try to make sense of all the random information to give you an idea of ​​what could be in store for the iPhone 15 Pro Max and/or iPhone 16 Ultra. If the rumors are true.

Almost 1-inch primary camera (probably) coming to iPhone 15 Pro Max: Apple finally wants to fight Android on a hardware level?

So where does the whole “close to 1″ to 1” problem come from? This is likely due to Sony being the first company to develop a 1-inch sensor for a modern phone, and the second (after Sharp) to use it in a phone you can buy, the Sony Xperia Pro. – Me. The point is that this particular phone was news that the Sony RX100 VII compact camera has a modified version of the 20 MP 1 inch sensor that only uses about 90% of the actual sensor area. This could explain why Ice Universe claims. The iPhone 15 Pro Max has a “close” 1-inch primary camera sensor, or 1/1.14 to be specific. If true (note the “if”), it means that Apple will use (you guessed it…) around 90% of the sensor area, identical to what Sony did with the Xperia Pro-I. Of course, not using the full power doesn’t sound very Apple, so I’d remain cautiously optimistic.

Right now, this iPhone 15 Pro Max primary camera situation has a few possible outcomes:

  • Apple will indeed use around 90% of the 1-inch sensor, namely the IMX 903, making the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s main camera 1/1.14-inch in size, suggesting a “full 1-inch sensor” could be used. in the rumored iPhone 16 Ultra next year, giving Apple time to optimize the sensor for peak performance, as well as differentiate the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro Max (the former is now expected to have the same 48MP camera as the iPhone 14 Pro).

  • The rumors are false and Apple will keep it conservative by giving the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max the same 1/1.28 48MP sensor from the iPhone 14 Pro.

  • The ‘almost 1-inch’ IMX 903 camera is indeed on the iPhone, but next year’s iPhone 16 (Ultra) is pretty good for the first ‘Ultra’ iPhone (if that’s such a thing)

1-inch camera sensors are now becoming the norm on high-end Android flagships, but that’s not the (only) thing Apple needs to fix the iPhone camera.

Clearly, large image sensors and especially the 1-inch IMX 989 (co-developed by Sony and Xiaomi) are currently popular in the Android world. Recent high-end flagships from Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo use the same 1-inch camera, while others like the Honor Magic 5 Pro are pretty close at 1/1.12-inch.

Actually even Google is expected to join the big image sensor club with the 1/1.12-inch Samsung GN2 — although it has a fairly large surface area, this is the same camera used in the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra from 2021. If it all works out, The Pixel 8 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max may use nearly identical large primary camera sensors — one made by Samsung and the other Sony.

Apple’s primary camera sensors have steadily grown in size; A 1-inch sensor is a logical step for 2023/2024. for the year

  • iPhone 15 Pro: 48MP, IMX903, 1/1.14 inch (iPhone 15 Pro Max only?)
  • iPhone 14 Pro: 48MP, IMX803, 1/1.28 inch
  • iPhone 13 Pro: 12 MP, IMX703, 1/1.63 inch
  • iPhone 12 Pro: 12MP, IMX603, 1/1.78 inch
  • iPhone 11 Pro: 12 MP, IMX503, 1/2.55 inch

As you can see, contrary to popular belief and Cupertino’s “slow innovation” strategy, Apple is also no stranger to frequent updates to the primary image sensors on Pro iPhones. Compared to the iPhone 11 Pro, the primary camera used on the iPhone 14 Pro has a much larger sensor.

But will this “almost 1-inch camera sensor” that’s reportedly coming to the iPhone 15 Pro Max change Apple’s approach to photography forever, or will it turn out to be just a simple hardware upgrade?

Fortunately, a rumor/leak from a few months back claims that the new Sony sensor(s) in the iPhone 15 Pro should help Apple’s flagship achieve better image processing and HDR, which (to me) is a much needed upgrade.

As someone who looks at countless camera samples and comparisons (all the time), I can safely say that the current state of iPhone image processing (photo and video) is in dire need of an upgrade to bring it up to date, like the Xiaomi 13 Ultra, which now takes photos and videos that remind “a real camera”.

With or without a 1-inch sensor, the iPhone 15 Pro Max camera will need a big change to compete with the best of the best (Xiaomi 13 Ultra)

Again, Apple’s next primary camera will be custom designed by Sony (Apple) and will be exclusive to the new iPhone. What’s interesting is that if the rumors pan out, the iPhone 15 Pro Max would drop The Galaxy S23 Ultra (1/1.3) lags behind when it comes to the size of the primary camera sensor, which is unusual. What’s even more unusual is that the expected 1/1.14 primary camera sensor that’s supposedly coming to the new iPhone would be only about 10% smaller than the IMX 989 used in the Xiaomi 13 Ultra (arguably the best camera phone out there right now).

Of course, we shouldn’t forget that the other big camera upgrade that will supposedly come to the iPhone 15 Pro/Max is a zoom camera with a longer optical range. Current rumors point to a 5-6x optical zoom lens, and if that and the whole “almost 1-inch camera sensor” thing pans out, the iPhone 15 Pro/Max would be one of Apple’s biggest camera upgrades in recent history.

Of course, I won’t get tired of repeating (although I am) that the weaknesses of Apple’s cameras are not exactly “bad hardware”, but rather outdated image processing that produces good photography and videography. only on your Instagram feed, but falls apart quickly compared to a real camera phone.

So whether or not we get a 1-inch “almost 1-inch” camera and improved optical zoom in the iPhone 15 Pro/Max, Apple needs to push harder to challenge the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Xiaomi 13 Pro. Not to mention winning.

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