iPhone 15 Pro Max in danger of delay, due to its clever new camera

iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max
(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 15 Pro Max could be hit by major delays thanks to one of its major selling points: the shiny new tetraprism camera lens. 

There have been rumblings since long before the iPhone 15 family was announced that Apple was beset by production problems, with plenty of chatter that the limited rollout of the new camera (only on the Pro Max, rather than both Pro models) was the result. 

• What is a tetraprism lens? A periscope lens. So what is a periscope lens?

Those earlier rumors seem to have been confirmed by a new report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. 

"The most significant supply bottleneck for the iPhone 15 Pro Max is currently the tetraprism compact camera module (CCM), which is exclusively supplied by LGIT," he wrote, referring to LG Innotek (part of the LG electronics group). 

"To improve the CCM production yield, Apple has urgently increased the specifications of the tetraprism lens exclusively supplied by Largan, to address the CCM yield issues caused by assembly tolerances."

Largan is the world’s largest supplier of smartphone camera lenses, and is notorious for being so good at what it does that it's the one supplier that Apple can't bully. Indeed, a knock-on effect of this latest development plays into Largan's hands; since it has Apple over a barrel, it has increased the price of the lens by 20%. 

Further, because Apple has raised lens tolerances to increase production yield, this further cements Largan's position as the primary supplier. As Ming-Chu notes, "If Apple maintains the higher specification for the lens, it will raise the entry barrier for Genius, Apple’s second-largest lens supplier, next year." 

Next year, of course, it is expected that both the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max will feature tetraprism cameras (as was almost certainly the plan this year, before production issues derailed plans). 

The extent to which the supply problems might delay shipping of the iPhone 15 Pro Max this year isn't clear, but make no mistake; if Apple is willing to pay 20% more for every camera lens produced, this is a very significant problem indeed. 

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Take a look at the best iPhones for photography up to this point. You might also be interested in the best camera phones from all brands, including the best Samsung phones and the best Android phones from other manufacturers. 

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.