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The release of the iPhone 15 Pro Max may face delays due to the production of the tetraprism lens system, “Specification changes put additional stress on the camera supply chain,” says Ming-Chi Kuo.
On Sunday, TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that while the iPhone 15 Pro Max is in strong demand among consumers, it is facing “production issues” that could potentially lead to supply delays.
In a new post on Medium on Monday, Kuo expanded on the comments, explaining that this was all due to the new compact tetraprism camera module used only by that iPhone module.
The tetraprism lens is an integral part of the iPhone 15 Pro Max. It increases the optical zoom of the telephoto lens from 3x to 5x, and also increases the maximum zoom to 25x. It's the only model to use a tetraprism system, while the iPhone 15 Pro uses a more typical telephoto lens arrangement.
To address CCM performance issues from exclusive supplier LGIT, Apple has increased the specifications of the lens itself, which are provided exclusively by Largan. Due to the sudden increase in lens requirements, as well as the urgency created by high demand, Largan has expanded its production lines to produce tetraprism lenses themselves.
As a result of new challenges and the need for additional resources, lens unit costs have increased by up to 20%. Apple is apparently willing to accept the expense, partly because of the relatively low cost of the defective lenses and partly because of Lurgan's reputation and “world-class manufacturing capabilities.”
If Largan is unable to meet demand to meet the new specifications, this could result in delays in iPhone 15 Pro Max deliveries to retailers and consumers.
Kuo adds that both the iPhone 16 Pro Max and iPhone 16 Pro are expected to feature tetraprism telephoto lenses. However, if Apple maintains higher lens performance requirements, it will “raise the barrier to entry for Genius,” Apple's second-largest lens supplier.
Lurgan is expected to likely remain the exclusive or primary supplier of tetraprism lenses for another year.