Future iPhones may include a laser-powered, 3D-sensing rear camera to augment AR

AppleIf what we hear is true, Apple is working on bringing 3D-sensing to the rear camera in its iPhone X2 model to turn the iPhone into an augmented reality powerhouse. This would set at rest all rumours floating about iPhone X2.

App;e camera

According to reports, iPhone X already features a snazzy selfie camera that creates a depth map of your face to use with Face ID and animoji.

Called TrueDepth, it relies on sensors that project thousands of dots onto your face to learn and adapt to the unique geometry of your face. But according to reports Apple is working on something much more advanced for the iPhone’s rear camera.

“The planned rear-facing sensor would instead use a time-of-flight approach that calculates the time it takes for a laser to bounce off surrounding objects to create a three-dimensional picture of the environment,” the report writes.

Time of flight cameras use advanced algorithms for distance mapping and range imaging, meaning it would track the whole scene, not just your face.

The most obvious use for such a camera would be augmented reality. Tim Cook has repeatedly expressed excitement in the technology, and a recent rumor claims that Apple is also working on an AR wearable due to be unveiled in 2019, which fits this timeline nicely.

Here it may be recalled that back in 2016, Cook had said this about AR, “AR is going to take a while, because there are some really hard technology challenges there,” he continued. “But it will happen, it will happen in a big way, and we will wonder when it does, how we ever lived without it.”