Apple Working on Rear-Facing 3D Sensors for 2019 iPhone

Natasha Gilbert November 14, 2017
Apple Working on Rear-Facing 3D Sensors for 2019 iPhone

Leading smartphone maker Apple Inc. is believed to be looking into developing a new rear-facing 3D sensor system for its iPhone in 2019, which might take the company another step forward to improving its augmented-reality (AR) apps and services.

Sources familiar with the matter stated on Tuesday that the tech giant is analyzing a different technology from the TrueDepth sensor that is currently on the iPhone X, as this system projects thousands of laser dots onto a user’s face to generate the picture.

The proposed rear-facing sensor on the other hand, operates by releasing lasers from the device and calculates the time it takes for the reflection to bounce off nearby objects to establish a 3D image of the environment.

Moreover, another distinguishing feature of this system is that it does not require a very high level of precision during the assembly stage. Sensor components of the iPhone X’s camera needed to be put together with extreme degree of accuracy.


Sources said that Apple has started talking with potential suppliers of the new sensors, but advised that there is a possibility the technology will not be ready for the 2019 iPhone, given the testing is still in early stages.

What could be certain though, is that the TrueDepth sensors will remain, meaning that future iPhone devices could feature both front as well as rear-facing 3D sensors on them.

Creating another 3D sensor could help increase the company’s AR apps and services. Apple sees AR as a future growth driver for the business, with its chief executive believing that AR is an essential factor in boosting iPhone’s significance.

He also said that AR, which he considered to be as ground-breaking as the smartphone itself, is going to change the way people uses technology forever.

Apple’s ARKit software was the first to show some very remarkable examples of augmented reality on iOS devices. Including the rear-facing 3D sensor could theoretically improve the ability for virtual objects to interact with environments and enhance the illusion of solidity.

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Natasha Gilbert


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