Apple will include a 3D depth camera in at least one of the iPhones it plans to launch this year. Engineers at Apple have been working on the “world facing” 3D camera for at least two years now. The sensor will allow Apple to add new AR features and experiences to its iPhone lineup this year.
While there is still a possibility that Apple decides against including the ToF sensor on its 2020 iPhone, for now, it is a part of the design. The company will be sourcing the laser for the 3D sensor from Lumentum, the same company which supplies it with the laser for the TrueDepth camera on existing iPhones.
So far, we have seen plenty of flagship Android smartphones launch with a ToF sensor at the rear but they have not really been used to deliver meaningful AR experiences. Apple could use the 3D sensor on the 2020 iPhone for offering a better bokeh effect in photos. It could also bring the Portrait mode feature to videos, a feature that we are now seeing in quite a few Android devices. A leak has already confirmed that Apple is working on a new AR app for iOS 14 which will integrate with Apple Stores and Starbucks and provide users with details about the items in store, their price, and other such information.
There are a number of ways in which Apple could use the depth information captured by a 3D depth camera for enhancing existing features and adding new ones. Apple has been heavily investing in ARKit and AR for the last few years and all that work will come together once the company launches an iPhone with a 3D sensor. The company is also working on an iPad Pro refresh with a 3D depth camera at the rear.[Via FastCompany]