Apple has tried to offer improved camera zoom this year with the iPhone 15 Pro Max. It's capable of 5x optical zoom and while that may be groundbreaking for iPhone users, Samsung's Galaxy S Ultra phones have had 10x optical zoom for a few years now.
The tech from high-end iPhones tends to trickle down to other models in the coming years. So even as the current Pro Max's lens moves down in the lineup, it still won't enable the iPhone 16 Pro to hold a candle to the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which would be an entire generation old by then.
Galaxy S23 Ultra will also blow next year's iPhone out of the water
We've already highlighted how Apple had the chance to match Samsung's zoom capabilities but blew it. The iPhone 15 Pro Max uses a “tetraprism” zoom lens to provide 5x optical zoom. On the other hand, Samsung's Galaxy S23 Ultra provides 10x optical zoom that already outclasses the new iPhone.
Even iPhone owners have begun to realize that their Apple phones are no match for the zoom capabilities provided by Samsung's top-of-the-line flagship. This has become evident particularly to concertgoers who find the difference between the iPhone and Galaxy S23 Ultra as clear as night and day.
Famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that next year's device, likely called the iPhone 16 Pro, will get the same tetraprism system that was introduced with the iPhone 15 Pro Max this year, so it will only manage 5x optical zoom. There's no word as yet if Apple will expand the Pro Max's capabilities next year to hit 10x, but considering how Apple likes to take its time, this may not happen for a couple of years.
Evidently, the only true option for customers who prioritize a good zoom camera on their smartphones is the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which is going to be replaced by the Galaxy S24 Ultra in a few months. One can only imagine how much better the camera on that is going to be.