The iPhone 15 Pro Max hasn’t reached the public yet, but it’s already facing availability challenges. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the production of the device presented last week At Apple’s Wonderlust event, it is experiencing a bottleneck due to one of its most complex components: the tetraprism.

It is a key piece of the camera system that, as we have explained in a dedicated article, allows you to have a 5x zoom lens on your smartphone (equivalent to a 120 mm lens). We are looking at a periscope that allows us to increase the range in which light travels in the same space to improve the focal length.

The problem of manufacturing tetraprisms in large quantities

The tetraprism, to fulfill its function, is supported by other elements of the photographic module such as optical image stabilization by displacement of the 3D sensor with autofocus. All this combination of elements results in a sophisticated proposal, exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, and difficult to manufacture.

And, in the latter, is where we find the problem that Kuo points out. This is the first time that Apple has introduced this novelty in the camera in its devices, so all production of the tetraprism lenses is in the hands of Largan Precision Co., a Taiwanese company whose production capacity is limited.

Now, according to the aforementioned specialist, Apple has urgently requested that Largan Precision Co. increase the pace of deliveries of the component in question to satisfy the demand for the iPhone 15 Pro Max. This surprising request has forced the supplier to modify its production scheme to comply with its client.


In this way, the Taiwanese company has had to dedicate more resources to improve its capacity in record time, but this has not come for free to Apple. The Cupertino company will have to pay approximately 20% more for each tetraprism lens used to manufacture the CCM modules of the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

It is certainly not common to see Apple in a scenario where it ends up paying more to one of its suppliers. Generally, those directed by Tim Cook are experts in outlining agreements of production with wide margins, in which prices are protected, so this attracts attention.

For example, Apple has delegated the manufacturing of the newly introduced A17 Pro SoC of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max to TSMC. Since this is a very advanced lithographic process, many wafers can end up having defects. Typically, these costs are borne by suppliers, but Apple has gotten TSMC to cover them.

It is too early to know if this move by Apple on tetraprisms will be enough to avoid any type of delay in sending your mobile. It should be noted, however, that late shipments are a reality. The iPhone XR, the iPhone 12 mini and 12 Pro Max, and the iPhone 14 Plus arrived later than promised.

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