The last few smartphone releases have been so good that tech enthusiasts cried the downfall of the dedicated camera. While there has been truth to that (goodbye point and shoot), mirrorless and cinema cameras have also improved in quality and affordability.

Yet the iPhone continues to be a powerful tool that Hollywood directors use to make movies. It also has "cinematic" features to elevate your videos and photos.

Now, the new iPhone 15 is only two weeks away. Will it continue to be that powerful tool?


9to5Mac reported that Apple's upcoming "Wonderlust" event will reveal updates to the Apple Watch series and four different versions of the iPhone 15.

The regular iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Plus will apparently inherit most of their specs from the previous generation iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, which will include the A16 Bionic Chip, the not-a-bug-but-a-feature Dynamic Island, and the 48MP camera.

Spec list of the A16 Bionic

The A16 chip that was inside the iPhone 14 Pro

Credit: Apple

For filmmakers, however, the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will be the one thing to look out for. According to 9to5Mac, the Pro line will include a new A17 Bionic chip, which is said to be the 3-nanometer processor in a smartphone. This will be exciting if the new chip will also include a GPU bump, as creatives will have more horsepower in their device for processing.

In addition, we're getting USB-C charging for those folks who can't seem to find their lighting cable (myself included).

Yet, what piqued our interest was the Periscope zoom lens that will only come in the iPhone 15 Pro Max. While this isn't a new technology, as many other smartphones have already implemented the tech, it'll be interesting to see how Apple integrates this lens into the iPhone.

\u200bPeriscope lens system from the Huawei P30 Pro

Periscope lens system from the Huawei P30 Pro

Credit: iFixIt

Say what you will about Apple, but when it does implement an existing software or hardware feature, it feels in a class of its own. Primarily thanks to it's walled-garden.

What Is A Periscope Lens?

For a while, smartphones were limited by the physical space inside the body. Lenses could only be a certain size and didn't have space to include a zoom mechanism.

Until someone decided to utilize the X and Y axes. By bending the path that light takes to get to the sensor by 90 degrees (like a periscope), engineers were able to utilize more space within a smartphone's body. Now, a zoom mechanism could theoretically be included in a smartphone camera.

How Apple plans to truly implement the tech into the iPhone 15 Pro Max remains to be seen, but I am excited to experience this new level of composition within the iPhone ecosystem. Add Cinematic Mode on top of that, and creatives are sure to have more opportunities to be... well, creative.

iPhone vs Camera 

While we won't know the full specs of the new iPhone camera system until its official announcement on September 12, we do have to ask the question.

Are these flagship smartphones still going to replace our cameras?

After the last year of camera releases, specifically from Sony, Fujifilm, RED, and ARRI, it's hard to justify using a smartphone for your project unless it's a gimmick. Sure, the new iPhone might be quick for social content, but dedicated cameras are getting much better. With AI-assisted autofocus, incredible IBIS, and dynamic range that even an iPhone can't begin to touch, you'll probably need a dedicated camera if you're shooting more than a selfie.

So, will I be getting the new iPhone 15 Pro Max? I definitely will, mostly because I'm two generations behind. But also, most of my photography is shot on film. If I were a content creator looking to start in the YouTube or streaming space, I would look at other cameras before considering a new iPhone.