If the myriad rumors and reports are to be believed, the next major iPhone evolution won’t take place until 2020. This year’s iPhone will certainly be a step up, but far more dramatic changes are coming next year. One of those changes will apparently be a time-of-flight 3D rear camera, according to a new DigiTimes report.
Sources tell the site that Apple is working with supply chain partners to bring vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VSCEL) components to future iPhone models. This is the same technology that powers Apple’s TrueDepth camera system, which is already present in the front-facing cameras of current iPhones. Including the technology in the rear cameras as well could open up a whole new world of possibilities for augmented reality.
This isn’t the first time such an upgrade has been hinted at either. Late last year, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that the 2019 iPad Pro would feature a 3D-sensing camera. He has also said more than once that time-of-flight will come to the iPhone in 2020. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman and Debby Wu published a similar report in January, stating that Apple will launch iPhones with “a more-powerful 3-D camera” in 2020.
As the Bloomberg report pointed out, the current TrueDepth system, while relatively advanced, is only able to operate within a few inches of its intended target (which makes sense for a selfie camera). The new system will reportedly be capable of working up to 15 feet away from the target, which is a substantial upgrade.
In the meantime, Apple has another camera upgrade in store for the iPhone 11. Countless leaks have reiterated that the iPhone Apple plans to unveil this September will feature a triple-camera array on the back of the device, as the company finally catches up with many of its Android rivals that added an extra camera years ago.