Apple will be releasing 2020 iPhones with 3D sensing cameras. From the 3 iPhones that will be released in 2020, only 2 will support these time-of-flight cameras. These cameras will help Apple deliver a ‘revolutionary’ augmented reality experience as well as allow the cameras to take better photos.
Time-of-flight cameras are used for for sensing depth. This is done by using lasers which are bounced off surfaces, and the time it takes for them to bounce off the surface is captured to create a 3D map of surroundings. This helps the camera to make better sense of distance between itself and the subject, allowing it to capture better portrait photos with realistic amount of depth. It can also be used to capture better photos in low light since. However, the biggest advantage for Apple to use this camera system might be for augmented reality. Due to advanced depth data, virtual objects might be able to detect surfaces in a better way.
As per Minh’s note obtained by MacRumors:
We predict that three new 2H20 iPhone models will all be equipped with front Face ID, and two of the new models will provide rear ToF. We estimate that shipments of iPhone models equipped with front and rear VCSEL (front structure light and rear ToF) will be 45mn units in 2020.
Apple’s implementation of the time-of-flight camera would also make use of 5G, which would also be part of all 2020 iPhone models. With low latency and high speed data only possible by 5G, this might open up new use cases for AR. All 2020 iPhone models are also expected to ship with OLED displays in the following sizes: 5.4-inch, 6.7-inch and 6.1-inch. Unlike previously rumored, this new report by Minh also confirms that all 2020 iPhone models will ship with Face ID instead of full-screen Touch ID.
Apple’s iPhone would not be the first phone to use a time-of-flight camera. Smartphones from Samsung, LG, Huawei and others have already used these cameras to provide better portrait photo capture as well as improved low light photography.
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