With 2019 officially upon us, the leaks and rumours of the major smartphone manufacturers have begun trickling in. Even though there is quite a while before Apple will launch its next-generation iPhones; this hasn’t stopped the rumour mill from churning out some interesting titbits. As per a report by Forbes, we can expect the 2020 iPhone to feature a ‘radical’ design change; however, how does the Cupertino-based smartphone manufacturer entice us to pick up the 2019 iPhone XI? The answer is simple. The brand is going to infuse the device with tech that’s not yet mainstream and even though it will most likely retain the same design elements found in the iPhone XS/XS Max, the camera will be upgraded to house Sony’s long distance 3D sensors and will have the potential to transform mobile photography as we know it.
The report states that Bloomberg has got in touch with a source at Sony and they have confirmed that Apple will be integrating a long distance 3D camera in the 2019 iPhone. With this technology fitted in the next crop of iPhones, it has the possibility to transform photography, security and gaming. Satoshi Yoshihara, head of Sony’s sensor division said, “Cameras revolutionised phones and based on what I’ve seen, I have the same expectation for 3D [cameras].” The report goes on to detail that Sony will be commencing mass production of the 3D sensors for front and rear cameras in the late summer to meet demand. Apple has shown interest in utilising this technology and Sony will be ready with the modules by the time the production of the next iPhone is underway.
Explaining the difference, the report states, “Sony’s 3D cameras use ‘Time of Flight’ technology (previously used only in the industry). It sends out invisible laser pulses and measures the time before they bounce back to build detailed 3D models of objects up to five metres away.”
The uses of this technology span far and wide and in terms of photography, focusing can happen instantaneously as well as object tracking can take place even in low lit environments. As far as security is concerned, the 3D cameras can be used for high-grade facial mapping and unlocking. This will reduce the need for the multi-sensor array currently used by Apple for its Face ID tech. Eventually, this implantation will be used to shrink the notch, or even have the possibility to remove it altogether. The 3D camera can also be used for mapping of rooms for AR and VR purposes and it also has interactive capabilities wherein a user’s hands can be used to manipulate a gaming environment.
Apart from the new camera sensors, it is also believed that Apple may bring back the much-loved Touch ID feature and fit it in the display itself. However, they will not go the way of Vivo or OnePlus, but instead include an ultrasonic in-display sensor, the same one that’s rumoured to feature in Samsung’s next flagship — the Galaxy S10.