❤ OnePlus may finally adopt a periscope zoom camera
A big trend in smartphones over the past few years has been the “periscope” zoom camera, and it seems OnePlus will finally adopt the tech in an upcoming release.
Periscope lenses in smartphones allow for zoom that goes beyond 2-3x. Google uses the technique in Pixel phones to hit up to 5x optical zoom, while Samsung uses it for the 10x telephoto lens on its Ultra devices, and countless other brands have been jumping on board too. Even Apple is rumored to introduce a periscope lens on its next iPhone.
But OnePlus, surprisingly, has yet to use a periscope zoom lens in its smartphones. The OnePlus 10 Pro and OnePlus 11 both maxed out with traditional zoom methods at 3.3x and 2x respectively.
It seems that may soon change, though. Digital Chat Station reports on Weibo that OnePlus has a “periscope arrangement” in the pipeline, with testing underway. It’s unclear what optical zoom level OnePlus is aiming for, but the simple fact the brand is finally jumping on board is great to see.
Presumably, this would make its debut in the OnePlus 12 sometime next year. OnePlus’ next smartphone is expected to be its first foldable, which would be a relatively odd place for the tech to debut. Periscope lenses are quite rare in foldables, with Google’s new Pixel Fold offering the tech, as well as Huawei’s Mate X3 and some others. But most stick with rather basic camera hardware for the sake of space.
Kuo: Upgraded optical zoom to be exclusive to iPhone ‘Pro Max’ cameras until at least 2025. Apple is expected to release its first iPhone with a periscope lens with this year’s iPhone 15 lineup, but rumors say it’ll be limited to only the highest-end iPhone 15 Pro Max. According to a new report from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the current expectation is that this exclusivity won’t change for the foreseeable future…
Only one/the highest-end model of the new 2H24 iPhone 16 series may have a periscope camera, not the two models of market expectation. It's detrimental to Largan and Genius since the demand for lens upgrades will fall below expectations.
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) January 31, 2023
Periscope lens for iPhone 15 and beyond. A periscope lens is one that relies on a prism to reflect light to multiple internal lenses at 90 degrees to the camera sensor. What this means is that the length of the lens can be much longer than a traditional telephoto lens, which in turn means that periscope lenses can offer much better optical zoom capabilities.
For example, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max both have a telephoto lens that offers 3x optical zoom and 15x digital. Samsung has already made the switch to a periscope lens in its flagship Galaxy S22 Ultra, which offers 10x optical zoom and 100x digital zoom.
The expectation is that the iPhone 15 Pro Max this year will be the first iPhone to switch to a periscope lens. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple’s implementation of the technology will include a 1/3″ sensor that has a 12-megapixel resolution with f/2.8 aperture, sensor-shift stabilization, and up to 6x optical zoom.
Rumors initially indicated that while the periscope lens would be exclusive to the highest-end iPhone 15 model this year, Apple would expand it to the smaller “Pro” phone in 2024. Now, that no longer appears to be the case.
Kuo reports that he now expects only the highest-end iPhone 16 model in 2024 will offer a periscope lens, whether this is called the “iPhone 16 Pro Max” or “iPhone 15 Ultra.”
There are two reasons Apple may have made this decision. It could be that the company views the periscope lens as a way to differentiate the iPhone 16 Pro Max from the iPhone 16 Pro, giving people a reason to spend more on the high-end model. Alternatively, it could be a technical or engineering limitation.
In the past, the switch to a periscope lens could be one of the biggest changes to the iPhone camera hardware in several years. The lack of greater optical zoom (and digital zoom, to a lesser degree) is the major advantage Samsung’s latest flagship devices have over the iPhone lineup.
The fact that the periscope lens will be limited to the big-screen iPhone until at least 2025 is disappointing for people who prefer smaller phones. The bifurcation here is similar to the days of the iPhone 6s, where the iPhone 6s Plus included an optical image stabilization sensor for video and still pictures, unlike the iPhone 6s.
OnePlus tipped to launch its first foldable in August
2023 is quickly turning into the year of the foldables, and now we’re hearing more about when OnePlus will launch its first entry.
With Oppo being one of the biggest names pushing foldable smartphones, it was only a matter of time until OnePlus took the plunge. Earlier this year, alongside the debut of its latest flagship, the OnePlus 11, the company teased a foldable smartphone to debut later in the year. The company then reiterated that at MWC.
Now, reliable tipster Max Jambor is adding a date to that. Apparently, the first OnePlus foldable will make its debut in August of this year.
OnePlus' foldable phone is launching in… August! pic.twitter.com/cg3oWe83sQ
— Max Jambor (@MaxJmb) May 4, 2023
That timeline doesn’t come as much of a surprise, really. Last year, OnePlus launched its OnePlus 10T in August, and years prior have seen similar timelines as well. An unveiling in August would also put OnePlus in a good spot as far as the competition goes, with Samsung expected to launch the Galaxy Z Fold 5 in July, a date it has pushed up from previous years. Google is also preparing to launch its first foldable, which is expected to go on sale in June.
Leaks of the first OnePlus foldable have been relatively minor thus far, with one past leak revealing the possible “OnePlus V Fold” name for the product. A recent tweet also made the rounds claiming the device would have an 8-inch inner display, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, and triple-camera array comprised of a 50MP main sensor, 48MP ultrawide, and 64MP telephoto. There hasn’t been anything to back up that rumor, but it seems reasonable to expect, especially given that we know the OnePlus foldable won’t be an exact copy of the Oppo Find N2.
OnePlus Fold launch in Q3, 2023!
~ 8” QHD+ 120Hz LTPO Inner screen
~ 6.5” FHD+ 120Hz Cover Screen
– Alert Slider
– SD 8 Gen 2
– 50MP (IMX890) OIS + 48MP (IMX581) UW + 64MP Periscope
– 32MP (OV32C)*2 front
– HASSELBLAD | MariSilicon X
– Quad speakers
~ 4800mAh + 80W pic.twitter.com/zY5Qbvtcgs
— Shishir (@ShishirShelke1) April 22, 2023
During its first launch event of 2023 earlier this month, OnePlus offered a somewhat cryptic teaser that, in Q3 of this year, it would host another launch. The brand offered no context at the time, but it was pretty clear what was coming – foldables.
Now, OnePlus is explicitly confirming that, yes, it will launch its first foldable smartphone in 2023.
During a session at MWC in Barcelona today, OnePlus confirmed that it will launch a foldable smartphone in the “second half of 2023,” likely referring to the previously teased Q3 timeline. The brand offered no further insight into what to expect, beyond saying that more information would be released the months to come.
OnePlus COO Kinder Liu said:
Our first foldable phone will have the signature OnePlus fast and smooth experience. It must be a flagship phone that doesn’t settle because of its folding form, in terms of industrial design, mechanical technology, and other aspects. We want to launch a device that aims to be at the pinnacle experience of today’s foldable market.
It’s notable that OnePlus is referring to this as a singular device, as many expected the company to launch both “book” and “clamshell” foldables. The brand at one point trademarked the names “OnePlus V Fold” and “OnePlus V Flip,” furthering the idea of two devices. That would also make sense, given OnePlus’ parent company Oppo also sells two foldables.
OnePlus hasn’t confirmed if this first foldable will be a “book” like the Galaxy Z Fold 4 or a “clamshell” like the Galaxy Z Flip 4, but given recent leaks it sounds like it will be of the Fold variety. Just last week, a leak claimed the device would have less in common with Oppo’s Find N2 than expected, which supports the idea that OnePlus is aiming for that form factor first.
Whatever the case, it’s certainly exciting, as a OnePlus foldable would bring more competition to Samsung, especially if it ends up launching in North America.