The iPhone 15 Pro Max is not yet on the market, but is already facing availability issues. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the device is being produced presented last week Apple’s Wonderlust event is experiencing a bottleneck due to one of its most complex components: the tetraprism.
It is a key element of the camera system that, as we explained in a dedicated article, allows you to use a 5x zoom lens on your smartphone (equivalent to a 120mm lens). We are looking at a periscope that allows us to extend the range of light in the same space, thus improving the focal length.
The problem of producing tetraprisms in large quantities
In order to fulfill its function, the tetraprism is supported by other elements of the photo module, for example by optical image stabilization by moving 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 here lies the problem that Kuo points out. This is the first time that Apple has introduced this novelty in the camera in its devices. Therefore, the entire production of the tetraprism lenses is in the hands of Largan Precision Co., a Taiwanese company whose production capacity is limited.
According to the aforementioned specialist, Apple has now urged Largan Precision Co. to increase the pace of deliveries of the component in question to meet demands the demand for the iPhone 15 Pro Max. This surprising request has forced the supplier to change its production scheme to meet the wishes of its customer.
In this way, the Taiwanese company had to devote more resources to improving its capacities in record time, but this was not in vain for Apple. The Cupertino company will have to pay about 20% more for each tetraprism lens used to make the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s CCM modules.
It’s certainly not common for Apple to find itself in a scenario where it ends up paying more to one of its suppliers. Generally they are the ones directed by Tim Cook Experts in drafting agreements a production with large margins where prices are protected, which attracts attention.
For example, Apple has delegated the production 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, defects can occur in many wafers. Typically these costs are borne by suppliers, but Apple has hired TSMC to cover these costs.
It is still too early to know if this move by Apple regarding tetraprisms is enough to be avoided any kind of delay in the delivery of your mobile phone, which should be available from September 22nd. However, it should be noted that delayed deliveries are not an unlikely scenario for the Cupertino company. For example, the iPhone XR, iPhone 12 mini and 12 Pro Max, and iPhone 14 Plus arrived later than promised.