2020 iPhone could include a 3D camera system

The triple-lens camera on Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro was a huge photography improvement for the smartphone maker when it was announced last September. Now it seems that the latest photography innovation from Apple could come in the form of a 3D camera. 

Fast Company reports that one of the iPhones to debut this year will have a rear-facing, or “world-facing,” 3D camera system. This type of camera system would allow better effects on photos and videos, as well as improved augmented reality features.

The 3D camera system would reportedly use time-of-flight sensors to emit light that would be able to measure the distance between the phone and whatever is in front of it. Images would have a 3D look to them, making the photos pop out of the screen. 

iphone-11-pro
Corey Gaskin / Digital Trends

While Apple already uses depth cameras for Face ID and its Animojis, a rear-facing system would be the first of its kind to be included in an iPhone. Rear-facing depth cameras already appear in phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ and the Samsung Galaxy S20+, as well as many other smartphones.

The new system has the potential to work in tandem with Apple’s other camera effects like the slow-motion feature and Portrait mode. 

Digital Trends reached out to Apple to comment on the 3D camera rumors. We will update this story when we hear back. 

Prolific TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted this feature last July, saying that the next versions of the iPhone will have rear cameras that allow the phones to determine how far away things are from them. 

Kuo — who is something of an oracle when it comes to iPhone predictions — predicted in December that four of the five iPhones will have 5G support, according to MacRumors. He’s also anticipating an iPhone SE2 debut within the first half of this year that will feature a 4.7-inch LCD display and a single-lens rear camera, but no 5G support. 

The other four models, which Kuo is calling the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max, would have 5.4-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.7-inch OLED displays, respectively, and either a dual-lens or a triple-lens rear camera — all with 5G support. These would be Apple’s first devices with 5G compatibility.

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