We recently saw major iOS 14 leaks that confirmed a new interface for the home screen and hinted at the launch of iPhone 9/iPhone SE 2 this year. Now, a new report suggests that Apple will feature a 3D depth camera in at least one of the iPhones, most likely the iPhone 12, it plans to launch this year.
According toFast Company, Apple engineers have been working on the rear-facing or “world facing” 3D camera for nearly two years now. The sensor in the camera will bring new AR features and experiences to its iPhone lineup in 2020.
Rear 3D camera in iPhone 12
The camera will have a laser-based sensor and a software system that emits light to measure the distance between the phone and various objects and surfaces in front of it. This will provide a detailed depth information and add new photo and video effects. It will also improve the augmented reality experience on iPhone 12.
Apple will source the laser for the 3D sensor from San Jose-based Lumentum — the same company which provides the sensors for the TrueDepth camera on existing iPhones.
Apple isn’t the first company to do so
It is to be noted that Apple won’t be the first company to add a rear-facing depth camera in its smartphones. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy S20+ and Galaxy S20 Ultra, as well as several other Android phones, already feature a 3D depth camera.
But we are talking about Apple so it will most likely develop some new and advanced ways to leverage the 3D camera technology for new user experiences. And if history is anything to go by, Apple’s 3D camera will likely be a bit fancier the way it brands and markets those experiences.
Currently, iPhones have depth cameras (TrueDepth) on the front. They mostly use for Face ID security or fun messaging effects such as Animoji.
The main depth effect in the iPhones right now is Portrait Mode that imparts the “bokeh” effect on photos to blur the background layer and places the foreground subject in sharp focus.
The introduction of the depth camera data would create a better-looking bokeh effect by sharpening the details that differentiate the foreground and background layers. It could also make it possible to adjust the layers of a photo that are blurry or focused in editing mode.
The Cupertino giant has been heavily investing in ARKit and AR for the last couple of years and all that work will come together once the company launches an iPhone with a 3D sensor.
Meanwhile, there are rumors that Apple is also working on an updated model of iPad Pro with a 3D depth camera at the back.