A source claims that Apple plans to put a 3D depth camera on the back of the iPhone in order to support augmented reality features.
Specifically, Fast Company says that at least one of this year’s iPhones will feature a 3D depth camera on its back.
iPhones already feature depth cameras (TrueDepth) on their fronts.
The camera—actually a laser, sensor, and software system—emits light to measure the distance between the phone and various objects and surfaces in front of it. This depth information will enable new photo and video effects, as well as better augmented reality experiences.
Apple will buy the laser needed for the new 3D from San Jose-based Lumentum, the same company that currently supplies the laser for the iPhone’s front-facing 3D camera, according to the report.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10+ and Galaxy S20+ and Galaxy S20 Ultra, as well as other Android phones, already have such cameras. But Apple may find some new ways to leverage the technology for new user experiences.
Rear-facing depth-sensing lens could make portrait and zoom photography a little better, and also bolster Apple's stated push for augmented reality.
Apple is said to be developing an AR app for iOS 14 that will let users point their iPhone at items in Apple Stores and Starbucks, and see digital information display around the items on the phone screen.