Thursday, March 12, 2020

This year’s iPhone might sport a 3D depth-sensing camera

With the iPhone 11 has spent more than six months in the market, it’s time to shift our focus to the next iPhones that will be unveiled in 2020. Amongst new features and improvements that will debut, we might also have a fourth camera joining the array on the back.

Fast Company has received confirmation from a source close to the development that at least one of the iPhones that will launch this year will sport a 3D depth camera on the back. It will be a combination of a laser emitter, a receiving sensor, and corresponding software to create a three-dimensional depth map of objects in front of it. It will have applications spanning photography, videography, and augmented reality. 

Rumored depth sensor on the back

The TrueDepth camera that Apple uses for Face ID is also based on the same principle, where it creates a 3D facial map of the user for an even more secure face unlocking system.

It isn’t the first time we hear about depth sensors on Apple devices. These rumors have been brewing for years. In fact, even the next-generation iPad Pro is expected to make the jump. While the effect can be simulated by using regular cameras during photography, complex augmented reality applications call for more accurate information. Apple’s ARKit framework will also be a big beneficiary of this shift.

Most Android smartphones already sport a depth sensor of some sort that kicks in during portrait mode photography or even in videos. Otherwise, the utility has been limited. With advanced 3D depth sensors becoming mainstream, AR use cases are sure to get better and more wide-spread.

However, the future of Apple’s upcoming products seems a little dicey as the iPhone 9 has apparently been delayed by many months due to the incapability of Chinese manufacturing plants to ramp up production. If the scenario doesn’t improve soon, we might have another delay headed our way.

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