What could make the iPhone’s dual lenses more awesome? Why, lasers of course

Apple iPhone X Review
The iPhone X (pictured) has a laser-based depth system on the front-facing camera, but a new rumor suggests the feature could be added to the rear camera as soon as 2019. Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Apple’s dual cameras brought features such as DSLR-like bokeh to smartphones, but the next camera tech the company is focusing on could make those features look old school in comparison. An anonymous source inside the company recently told Bloomberg that Apple is working on a 3D laser system that expands the camera’s capabilities — and increases the realism of augmented reality effects.

The tech works similarly to the iPhone X’s front-facing sensor that allows users to unlock the phone with their face and fake studio lighting on selfies, but brings a similar idea to the rear-facing camera. While similar in concept and the use of lasers, the rear-facing system would instead measure how long it takes each laser to bounce off a surface, in order to create a depth map of the scene. By timing how long it takes for the laser to travel to those surfaces, the iPhone could create a much more detailed depth map then what the two offset dual cameras can create.

A better depth map could in turn be a big boon for augmented reality. With more data about where everything is in the scene, the future iPhone could create a more realistic placement of AR objects. If the smartphone understands the scene in three dimensions, the placement of virtual objects, and even movement, could be adjusted to fit within that specific space.

The unnamed source suggested that the feature could be coming in 2019, but says that the feature may not make it into the final version if the 3D laser system doesn’t do well in testing. With Apple not discussing unreleased products, the feature can be added to a growing list of iPhone rumors. The company is rumored to be releasing a more budget-friendly iPhone alongside a larger, pricier model in 2018. While initial reports suggested the same TrueDepth tech that allows facial ID, analysts later said the company would be instead focusing on new models with that feature in the front-facing camera, a rumor that supports the claim the feature is coming in 2019.

Depth information is becoming increasing available in high-end smartphones, but the tech behind the feature varies. The iPhone Plus smartphones (including the 7 Plus and the X) compare the views from two different lenses to add depth effects. The Google Pixel 2 instead compares the view from opposite sides of a pixel, a variation that works with the dual pixel autofocus system.

Product Review

When your phone camera disappoints, grab the Olympus E-PL9

With a healthy dose of style, solid performance, and beginner-friendly controls, the E-PL9 is the perfect camera for the smartphone generation. Well, other than an actual smartphone.
Mobile

MetroPCS Alcatel 7 boasts a dual-sensor camera and FHD+ screen for $180

Alcatel has taken the wraps off of the new Alcatel 7, a phone that's uniquely available from MetroPCS. The new device boasts a full HD display with a dual-sensor camera and a relatively nice design, and it comes in at only $180.
Photography

When you're ready to shoot seriously, these are the best DSLRs you can buy

For many photographers the DSLR is the go-to camera. With large selection of lenses, great low-light performance, and battery endurance, these DSLRs deliver terrific image quality for stills and videos.
Photography

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.
Smart Home

Trulia enables homeseekers to know the neighborhood with a new app feature

Trulia Neighborhoods is taking a closer look at neighborhoods with a new digital experience, Trulia Neighborhoods, that aims to use multimedia to depict the local character of American communities.
Mobile

These are the best Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium cases to keep your phone pristine

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium is a beautiful and powerful phone, but with a glass build and a $1,000 price tag, you will want to keep it protected. Here are the best Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium cases to keep your phone pristine.
Product Review

The Nokia 3.1 is disappointing in almost every way

HMD Global is back with a new Nokia phone in the U.S., the Nokia 3.1. It's a frills-free phone with an attractive price tag. But can it compete with other similarly priced budget phones?
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs. Huawei P20 Pro: Two high-end phones clash

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is here and it's a big, beautiful beast of a smartphone. But today's market is demanding -- does the Note 9 measure up to other flagships? We pitted it against the Huawei P20 Pro to find out.
Home Theater

Crazybaby’s Air 1S true wireless earbuds won’t make you look like a dork

Audio technology company Crazybaby has launched the Air 1S true wireless earbuds, promising considerable connectivity improvements over previous models while retaining the sleek style and supreme comfort.
Mobile

Samsung rebrands Gear app as ‘Galaxy Wearables,’ it now supports Android 9.0 Pie

Following reports that Samsung Gear owners were experiencing connectivity issues after downloading Android 9.0 Pie, the company released an update to the app. The Samsung Gear app is also now officially known as Galaxy Wearable.
Deals

Smartphone out of juice? Get this Anker power bank for half its normal price

Smartphones are great -- right up until they run out of battery. If you're in need of a little extra juice on the go, you can pick up an Anker PowerCore 1300mAH for almost 50 percent off.
Mobile

Apple may add Apple Pencil support for its 2018 iPhones

Apple's 2018 iPhone range is still a mystery. How many models will launch? What will they be called, and how big will the screens be? Here are all the rumors and everything we know so far.
Mobile

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Mobile

Sprint and LG team up on a 5G smartphone set for release in first half of 2019

Sprint and LG are teaming up to bring customers the first 5G smartphone in the U.S. While details on design and specifications have yet to be released, the carrier confirmed the device will be available in the first half of 2019.