Apple’s iPhone in 2019 or iPhone XI as some are referring to it, could come with a 3D camera at the back, indicates a new report from Bloomberg. Rival Huawei, which is the number two smartphone manufacturer in the world, could also adopt something similar, adds the report.
The report is based on how Sony is boosting the production of its next generation of camera chips with support for 3D sensors with potential customers, like Apple showing interest. Sony is already supplying camera sensors to Apple, Google, Samsung, etc, but this generation of camera chips will power both the the front and rear 3D cameras.
Bloomberg‘s report hints that several smartphone makers will adopt a similar 3D camera in 2019, and that Sony will start mass production in late summer to meet demand. The report is quoting Satoshi Yoshihara, head of Sony’s sensor division, who also added that 3D business is already operating profitably.
“Cameras revolutionized phones, and based on what I’ve seen, I have the same expectation for 3D…The pace will vary by field, but we’re definitely going to see adoption of 3D. I’m certain of it,” Yoshihara was quoted as saying.
While he did not identiy the actual customers, the report adds that Huawei is planning to implement 3D cameras in its new models, and is based 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 how long they take to bounce back,” explained Yoshihara. Sony claims these allow for more detailed and accurate 3D models.
Apple’s iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XR already have a 3D front camera with the TrueDepth camera, which relies on structured light method to create the 3D models of the user’s and recognise it in the Face ID feature.
Sony’s new 3D camera though will be more accurate than these earlier variants, which are based on ‘structured light’, notes the report. It has also been speculated that a 3D camera could allow for more interactive mobile games. With Apple’s emphasis on augmented reality, this might not be surprising.
Players like Oppo have also shown off phones with time of flight (TOF) sensor. Rumours have also claimed that the Huawei P30 Pro will have a fourth camera, which will be the TOF sensor with support for 3D imagery.