Apple has patented a foldable camera design allowing periscopic optical zoom and advanced image stabilization in future iPhones. The system uses prisms and actuators to move lenses within a compact footprint.
Some Android phones, like the Samsung Galaxy S20, have already adopted foldable camera arrangements. But Apple’s patent details key innovations in lens mounting and motion control.
Folding Optics Extend Zoom Range
The patented system folds the optical path using paired prisms on either side of a multi-element lens group. This allows longer focal lengths without increasing device thickness.
Apple suggests moving the lens group along two axes for zooming and stabilization. Voice coil motors could provide precise control over lens positions.
Novel Lens Suspension Enables Precision Motion
A key focus of Apple’s patent is the lens suspension system. The lenses are mounted in an inner carrier placed within an outer carrier structure.
Leaf springs and cables allow the lens assembly to move freely while retaining position. This enables advanced autofocus, optical stabilization, and extended zoom capabilities.
Bringing Periscope Zoom to Future iPhones
Android brands have already implemented folded optics to achieve greater zoom ranges in slim phones. Apple’s patent builds on the concept with innovative lens mounting strategies.
The technology could finally bring periscopic zoom capabilities to iPhones. It also highlights Apple’s leadership in mobile camera engineering.