Apple’s development of “periscope” lens is on track for 2022, with a new supplier expected to fulfill orders for lens and corresponding voice coil motor parts, according to TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Two new suppliers are anticipated to enter Apple’s supply chain as the tech giant works to build out iPhone’s camera capabilities, Kuo said in a note to investors on Tuesday. Korean lens supplier Semco and Chinese lens supplier Sunny Optical are predicted to furnish parts in the second half of 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Apple is contracting with the new companies to further diversify lens component supply for iPhone, iPad and Mac, the note reads. Lower lens costs and new technology development are also cited as benefits.
Semco, for example, is predicted to ship a periscope telephoto lens and VCM for iPhone in 2022, with the firm winning an estimated half of all orders. Largan+Alps/Minebea are also expected to provide parts for the new mechanism.
Periscope lenses typically use a series of prisms to extend the focal length of a compact or miniature lens array. In the case of smartphones, the technology can be fashioned to direct light from the front element, through a prism and toward an imaging point, or sensor, deep inside the handset chassis. Apple holds multiple patents on related “foldable lens” designs, some of which date back to at least 2016.
Semco will enter the iPhone supply chain this year with, producing 6P lens arrays and ball-type VCM technology, Kuo says. The VCM designs replace spring-type motors used in existing iPhone and iPad models. The firm is anticipated to supply 6P/7P or 5P/6P lens components in 2021, taking orders away from current suppliers Largan and Genius.