Future Apple iPhones Will Feature A ToF 3D Depth Camera
Apple is yet to launch the 2019 iPhones which will allegedly be called the iPhone XI, iPhone XI Max and iPhone XR 2019 or XI R. However, news regarding its 2020 smartphones have already started popping up. According to a new report, the American company has asked its supply chain partners to supply VCSEL components for a rear ToF camera lens. The sensor is said to be incorporated in its 2020 lineup of flagship smartphones.
VCSELs stands for Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers which are a critical component of Apple’s TrueDepth camera. It is found in the iPhone XR, XS and XS Max and enables features such as Face ID, Animoji and Portrait selfies as well as proximity-sensing capabilities of AirPods. The incorporation of a ToF camera system will be a significant improvement from TrueDepth owing to more advanced laser technology. Basically, Apple is upgrading the components housed in the current generation of iPhones allowing for added functionality.
TrueDepth utilizes tens of thousands of laser dots to accurately map a users’ face that offers a secure authentication process. Contrastingly, ToF sensors measure the time taken for a laser to bounce off surrounding objects to create a 3D image; it is similar to how RADARS detect objects by bouncing signals of varying wavelengths. Hence, the ToF provides a more accurate depth perception and better measurement of virtual objects placements. It will essentially allow depth being captured in photos with greater quality.
Apple iPhone 2020 could be able to scan areas up to 15 feet from the device. Current generation iPhones with TrueDepth only work at distances up to 25 to 50cms in comparison. With this, the tech giant is reportedly two years ahead of its competition in the region of 3D sensing technology. Sony is claimed to be the supplier for the ToF technology as Apple is rumoured to be in talks with the Japanese company. However, the company had also invested $390 million (approx. INR 2687 crores) in Finisar Corp which also supplies VCSELs.
Earlier reports had claimed that the 2019 iPhones would also incorporate the new feature. However, Apple has put its plans for AR/VR based technology development on hold for now. The 2020 iPhones could have Apple again incorporating a major distinctive feature that sets it apart from its competitors. Unfortunately, no official statement from the company has been given out yet. Updates will be provided once more information is available, so stay tuned.