Apple Working on Rear-Facing 3D Sensor for Advanced AR Experiences on 2019 iPhone

Posted on November 14, 2017 by Mehedi Hassan in Hardware, iOS, Mobile with 6 Comments

Just more than a week ago, Apple started shipping the company’s next-gen iPhone: the iPhone X. With the iPhone X, Apple introduced a new TrueDepth camera on the front of the device, which powers new experiences like Face ID and Animojis on the $999 iPhone.

Apple’s TrueDepth system uses 30,000 laser dots to effectively create a depth map of the user’s face for features like Face ID that’s used to unlock the device and authenticate on things like Apple Pay and the App Store. The TrueDepth tech is expected to stay in future iPhone devices, but Apple is apparently working on a new 3D sensor for the 2019 iPhone. Bloomberg reports that the 2019 iPhone will feature a 3D sensor on the back of the device, which will be used to power advanced augmented reality experiences.

Apple’s ARKit on the iPhone X and older iPhone devices is already capable of providing rich AR experiences, but the accuracy is far from perfect. The upcoming 3D sensor would potentially allow Apple to tackle this issue, as it uses an advanced laser-based system which basically builds a depth map of the surrounding environment by calculating the time it takes for a laser fired by the sensor to bounce off objects in the environment. The tech is obviously a lot more complicated than that, and it might even get cancelled as Cupertino is in the very early stages of planning at the moment.

For next year’s iPhones, Apple is believed to be bringing the iPhone X’s bezel-less design to all the three different models of the iPhone. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently reported that Apple is working on a 6.5-inch, a 6.1-inch, and a 5.8-inch iPhone for next year. All of these devices will have the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera system, and Face ID. Not all the variants will be joining the OLED bandwagon, though — Apple’s still going to be using a TFT LCD panel for the 6.1-inch variant of next year’s iPhone lineup, but it will cost significantly lower than this year’s iPhone X. Apple’s implementation of the TrueDepth camera system and Face ID has been widely praised, so bringing it to all variants of the iPhone X is a no-brainer. I love the seamlessness and performance of Face ID on the iPhone X, so I’ll certainly be looking forward to Face ID 2.0 on next year’s iPhones.

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