iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 leaks hint at huge camera and display upheaval

Apple's iPhone 13 may still be months away from their big reveal, but that isn't stopping new tidbits about the 2022 iPhone and 2023 iPhone ranges from already emerging courtesy of the supply chain. 2020 proved to be a big year for Apple's smartphones, adopting 5G across the board and growing in number to span four different screen sizes.

Exactly how each of those have done in retail terms, however, has been a mixed bag. Though the initial reception to the iPhone 12 mini, for example, seemed positive, sales of the smallest member of the iPhone 12 family are believed to have underwhelmed overall. That's led to suggestions that Apple will quietly retire that size altogether.

Now, analysts are wading in with talk of the 2022 "iPhone 14" – assuming, that is, that Apple calls this year's model range the iPhone 13 – and even the 2023 "iPhone 15" family. While long-distance predictions can be tricky, Apple's use of custom-designed components and the general lead-time in any new device mean that even as it finalizes the iPhone 13, several generations beyond that are already in the works.

That's not to say things can't change in the meantime, but it's enough that the supply chain can drop some intriguing tidbits. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, 2022 will bring a four-strong iPhone 14 range. Two will have 6.1-inch displays, and two would have 6.7-inch displays; one from each, it's suggested, will fit into a regular and a "Pro" series.

Kuo says that the iPhone 14 Pro will have a 48-megapixel main camera on the rear, 9to5Mac reports, compared to the 12-megapixels found on the current iPhone 12. It's possible that the data from the higher resolution sensor could be combined to output a 12-megapixel image still, using techniques that help trim noise and ensure things like more consistent colors.

Equally important, the analyst says that Apple plans to use a camera sensor with 2.5um pixels. That's considerably larger than the iPhone 12's 1.7um pixels, and would mean a significant increase in sensitivity to light. In addition, 8K video recording is said to be on the cards.

For iPhone 15, more camera and display upgrades

Beyond the iPhone 14 in 2022, the iPhone 15 in 2023 will see Apple's attention turn to other cameras on the phones, Kuo suggests. He claims Apple will shift to a periscope lens for the telephoto zoom, allowing greater quality from the 2x magnification.

Periscope lenses rely on folded optics to fit a long, narrow lens across the body of the phone. We've seen Android device-makers like Samsung and Huawei make good use of that, in the process helping add magnification without necessarily increasing the thickness of the handset. Today, meanwhile, Sony added a periscope zoom with dual discrete focal lengths to its Xperia 1 III.

However the bigger changes may be on the front of the iPhone 15. According to the analyst, Apple is working on removing its controversial "notch" at the top of the iPhone's display, which currently accommodates the front-facing camera, the Face ID system, and the handset's earpiece. Instead, Kuo says, Apple has been working on shifting the Face ID components – including the IR dot projector and the flood illuminator – under the screen itself, 9to5Mac reports.

Although the 2021 iPhone 13 is believed to shrink the notch, and 2022 iPhone 14 is expected to use a punch-hole front selfie camera, the iPhone 15 could have no bezel or notch at all, Kuo predicts. Instead, the components would be integrated under the display itself. That's something we've seen tentatively attempted by Android phones, though not broadly available commercially yet.