Will Apple’s 2019 iPhone include 3D Sensor?

It looks like Apple will retain the title of being the most innovative company in the future. According to a report, Apple is developing a new 3D sensor for its 2019 smartphone. It will bring a new layer of information to our hands in the form of AR (Augmented Reality). Example? Pokémon Go. AR adds information like sound, video, graphics, haptics, or GPS in the real world. It will lead to more real-world apps and services and enhance the VR experience. Previously, Asus has also launched an AR smartphone, the Zenfone AR.

The new Apple 3D sensor will work by firing lasers out of the device and measuring the time it takes for the reflection to get back to generate a depth map similar to Radar. Now, a dual camera and even the infrared sensor on the new iPhone X can collect depth information. Even the new Google Pixel 2 also does that to produce the effect. Apple’s new sensor will use different technology for the 3D system than the TrueDepth camera system, enabling better depth detection for augmented reality apps and a more accurate type of autofocus for photography.

This is not the first time Apple hinted at developing a 3D sensor. This year, in June, Apple launched the augmented reality development kit (ARKit), which allows developers to build augmented reality apps for iOS. This pointed to the fact that Apple will soon release a device featuring AR capabilities on the front and back. The TrueDepth feature will be retained in the future as well.

Interestingly, Apple supplier Lumentum has received over $200 million in bookings for components for vertical-cavity-surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL), likely for the new device that will have the 3D sensor. Lumentum is rumored to be one of around three companies supplying Apple with VCSEL components, the second being Finisar. A new report today also said Apple had started discussing the new system with the suppliers. Companies that manufacture time-of-flight sensors include Infineon Technologies AG, Sony Corp., STMicroelectronics NV, and Panasonic Corp. Early stages of testing have also been done.

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook believes AR is as revolutionary as the smartphone. He said augmented reality (AR) would impact every sector and every industry- from enterprise to consumer, fashion, retail, and beyond. He also mentioned that we already see things that will transform how we work, play, connect, and learn. “AR will change how we use technology forever,” he claims.

Apple and Google are also working with Infineon on depth perception as part of its AR development push, Project Tango, launched three years back. The chip was used in Lenovo  Phab 2 Pro and Asus ZenFone AR, both Android devices. Apple is also rumored to work on an augmented-reality headset, which will launch as early as 2020. This year, they are already on top based on innovations like the Taptic Engine, A11 Bionic processor (neural engine ), and the latest Face ID system.

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