According to a latest Bloomberg report, Apple is said to be planning to launch iPhones with more-powerful 3D cameras as soon as 2020, pushing the company further into AR. The rear-facing, longer-range 3D camera is designed to scan the environment to create three-dimensional reconstructions of the real world.
Furthermore, the 3D reconstructions of the real world work up to about 15 feet from the device compared to the current distance of 25 to 50 centimeters to power Apple’s Face ID facial-recognition feature. Apple’s new system uses a laser scanner, rather than the existing dot-projection technology which doesn’t work as well over long distances.
This is one among the many features including a third-camera, enhanced photo-capture tools, and a more powerful chip, that Apple plans to include in-coming generations of iPhones. The laser-powered 3D camera would enhance augmented reality on the iPhone, allowing for more accurate depth perception and placement of virtual objects. Apple has been in talks with Sony for testing sensors for the new system.
For 2019, Apple plans successors to the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max — code-named D42 and D43 and an update to the iPhone XR. The larger of the new high-end iPhones will have three cameras on the back, and the other handsets will eventually come with major upgrades. The laser-powered 3D camera could debut first on an upgrade to the iPad Pro which is currently planned for as early as spring 2020. Apple is also testing versions of iPhones for this year with USB-C connector instead of the Lightning port.