2020 iPhones could boast rear-facing 3D camera | Cult of Mac

2020 iPhones could boast rear-facing 3D camera

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Slickwrap iPhone 11Pro
Those rear-facing lenses are about to get even more useful.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

At least one of Apple’s 2020 iPhones is likely to boast a 3D depth-sensing camera on the back, a report from Fast Company, published Wednesday, claims.

The camera sensor will make it possible to carry out “new photo and video effects,” the report suggests. It could also improve the augmented reality (AR) functionality of the new device.

The report, which cites a “source with knowledge” of the plans, says that Apple has been working on this feature for at lease a couple of years. However, it has been nixed each previous year. Fast Company is more confident things will be different this time around. Nonetheless, it acknowledges that it could potentially be dropped from the design before manufacturing.

Apple will purchase the laser for the new camera sensor from the San Jose-based Lumentum company. Lumentum also supplies the laser used for the front-facing 3D camera found on the newer iPhones. These are used for Face ID and other features such as Animoji.

Since the rear-camera on the iPhone is used for different applications than the FaceTime camera, it would likely be employed for different use-cases. Face ID wouldn’t be necessary, for instance. Fast Company suggests that it could be used to create “a better-looking bokeh effect [in photos] by more accurately distinguishing between foreground and background layers.” This would open up possibilities like adjusting the focus on different levels of a photograph after it is taken.

Rear-facing 3D camera: Not the first time we’ve heard this

A rear-facing 3D camera has been rumored for the iPhone before. Rumors that Apple would add these sensors surfaced at the start of 2019. In July 2019, reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that two of Apple’s three new iPhones for late 2020 would have rear-facing 3D cameras.

Apple wouldn’t be the first smartphone maker to introduce this feature. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10+, S20+, and S20 Ultra, along with a few other Android handsets, already boast rear 3D cameras. However, Apple frequently comes up with innovative way of using technology even when others have beaten it to market. One of these is likely to involve ARKit, Apple’s augmented reality technology. Apple CEO Tim Cook has been outspoken about his excitement regarding AR.

Provided that the outbreak of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus doesn’t delay this year’s iPhones too much, we should know in about six months’ time.

Source: Fast Company