On Wednesday, Fast Company revealed Apple is planning to include a rear-facing 3D camera in its 2020 iPhones. The corporation will reportedly use a sensor made by Lumentum, a California-based component maker that supplied parts for some of Samsung’s Galaxy S20 handsets. The technology utilized in the depth sensor would give the next-generation device impressive photographic and augmented reality (AR) features.
iPhone’s Potential Rear-Facing 3D Camera
Apple has embedded three-dimensional depth sensors in its iPhones since 2017. The firm uses an array called TrueDepth to power its FaceID biometric security system. The front-facing component also provides the functionality for Animojis and Memojis in the Messages App.
Fast Company said the electronics maker hasn’t finalized the design element for its upcoming handsets. However, right now, Apple wants to insert depth sensors in the rear of at least one of its 5G iPhones.
With that repositioning, the 3D camera would provide users with a much more extensive range of applications. Samsung utilized Lumentum’s time-of-flight technology for two features introduced with the Galaxy S20+ and Galaxy S20 Ultra. Live Focus uses a mobile device’s sensors to blur out the backgrounds in photos and videos. Quick Measure allows users to gauge the area, height, volume, and width of objects at a distance.
Lumentum’s sensing technology uses diode lasers to perform sophisticated three-dimensional mapping tasks.
Apple sold its iPhone 11 series in part on the quality of its three rear-facing cameras. But while the handset could capture wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto images and footage, it lacked depth-related features. According to 9to5Mac, the Big Tech firm will introduce a new AR app with the launch of iOS 14. The program will reportedly allow users to see virtual overlays in Apple Stores and Starbucks.
Use in Apple’s AR Glasses?
Last November, The Burn-In reported Apple is in the process of developing two online-enabled headset projects. The codename N301 product is reportedly a robust AR/virtual reality headset akin to the Oculus Rift intended for release in 2022. The M421 is a smart glasses offering that will darken its lenses when in AR mode. The Cupertino, California-based conglomerate intends to release the M421 as soon as next year.
9to5Mac notes Apple’s iOS 14 AR app might be used in its headgear.
One problem manufacturers have encountered when developing smart glasses is product weight. The components required for seamless real-time holographic imagery can be heavy, making connected lenses products uncomfortable to wear for long periods. The iPhone maker might be using Lumentum’s sensors in its forthcoming headset.
The San Jose, California-based firm chips proved their fitness for smartphone AR features with the Galaxy S20 series. As such, Apple might use its time-of-flight components to bring science fiction ideas like 3D restaurant menus and holographic telepresence to the real world.