Tech

Apple’s next iPhone might have a 3D depth camera on the back

That cool 3D depth camera in the iPhone 11’s notch? This year, a similar one might appear on the iPhone’s back. 

Fast Company cites a “source with knowledge” as saying that at least one of this year’s iPhones will get this “world-facing” 3D camera. 

This new camera has been in the works for at least two years, Fast Company’s source says, although there is no guarantee it’ll actually make it into this year’s iPhone. If it does, Apple will likely purchase key parts for it from a San Jose company called Lumentum, which supplies the laser for the iPhone’s front-facing 3D camera. 

Numerous phones these days have a rear-facing 3D depth camera, including Samsung’s recent Galaxy S20 Ultra. But it’s worth noting that Apple did more than most with its front-facing TrueDepth camera.

Apple has one of the best facial recognition systems on the market. Same for Portrait mode. And the camera is used for real-time animated 3D avatars called Animoji. 

We’ve heard a similar rumor before, in fact as early as 2017, but it never materialized. In Jan. 2019, Bloomberg reported that Apple is working on such a camera, likely to show up on 2020 iPhones. The outlet noted that this camera would be different than the TrueDepth camera on the iPhone’s face, which only works over short distances, as it would have the ability to create a virtual 3D environment out of objects that are up to 15 feet away from the phone. 

According to these reports, this new 3D camera would primarily be used for augmented reality applications, something Apple has been increasingly interested in.

It’s also possible that the camera will allow for a better Portrait mode for photos taken with the rear camera, as well as give iPhones the ability to change the focus of a photo after it’s been taken. 

The reports, however, indicate that only the more expensive versions of the iPhone — currently, those are the ones with the “Pro” moniker — will get the feature. 



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