The iPhone 7 Plus could come with a big camera upgrade, though you may have to pay extra for the new feature. According to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo—a pretty reliable source for Apple leaks—the company is planning a special version of the device with dual rear cameras and optical zoom.
The new camera array allegedly features a pair of 12-megapixel Sony sensors. The first handles optical image stabilization and offers a wide field of view, while the second could pack a 2-3x telephoto lens for optical zoom. The two cameras could also work together to produce extremely high-resolution photos.
For serious photographers, optical zoom could make the iPhone 7 Plus a necessity. Unlike digital zoom, which simply enlarges the pixels, optical zoom adjusts the lens for a higher resolution image when you’re shooting far away objects.
Apple apparently tried to do something similar last year for the iPhone 6s Plus, but couldn’t get its assembly line in order. Since then, the company has been able to solve the problem using technology it acquired from LinX after buying the firm in April.
Kuo notes that Apple will likely offer two different versions of the iPhone 7 Plus, one with the new camera array and one with a single rear shooter. That extra lens will probably drive up the price, and as a result this model may only make up about 25-35 percent of total iPhone 7 Plus sales.
Apple has used its plus-sized iPhones to introduce new camera features in the past, including optical image stabilization with the iPhone 6 Plus. But this is the first time the company will allegedly produce a special third variant.