Apple’s iPhone in 2019 or iPhone XI, as some refer to it, could come with a 3D camera on the back, a new report from Bloomberg. Rival Huawei, which is the number two smartphone maker in the world, could also adopt something similar, the report adds.
The report is based on how Sony is pushing production of its next generation of camera chips with support for 3D sensors with potential customers, as Apple shows interest. Sony is already supplying camera sensors to Apple, Google, Samsung, etc., but this generation of camera chips will power the front and rear 3D cameras.
BloombergThe report suggests that a number of smartphone makers will adopt a similar 3D camera in 2019, with Sony starting mass production in late summer to meet demand. The report quotes Satoshi Yoshihara, head of Sony’s sensor division, who also added that the 3D business is already operating profitably.
“Cameras revolutionized phones and from what I’ve seen I have the same expectation for 3D… The pace will vary by field, but we’re definitely going to see the adoption of 3D. I’m sure of that, “Yoshihara was quoted.
While it did not identify actual customers, the report adds that Huawei plans to implement 3D cameras in its new models and relies on people familiar with the matter.
Sony’s 3D camera will use the time-of-flight approach, which “sends out invisible laser pulses and measures the time it takes for them to recover,” Yoshihara explained. Sony claims that these allow for more detailed and accurate 3D models.
Apple’s iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XR already has a 3D front camera with TrueDepth camera, which is based on a structured light method to create users’ 3D models and recognize them in the face identification function.
However, Sony’s new 3D camera will be more accurate than these previous variants, which are based on “structured light,” the report notes. It has also been speculated that a 3D camera could enable more interactive mobile games. With Apple’s emphasis on augmented reality, this might not be surprising.
Gamers like Oppo have also shown time-of-flight (TOF) sensor phones. Rumors also claim that the Huawei P30 Pro will have a fourth camera, which will be the TOF sensor with support for 3D images.