While we’re still two months away from Apple’s widely rumored trio of 2018 iPhones, the rumor mill is already looking ahead to next year.
iPhone with triple-lens rear camera mockup via iDrop News
Much of the early discussion has centered upon the rear-facing camera on 2019 iPhones, with multiple reports claiming it will be a triple-lens array with advanced 3D sensing for augmented reality capabilities.
Taiwanese publication Economic Daily News says as much in a pair of reports today, claiming that the rear-facing camera on 2019 iPhones will feature “more advanced” sensing than the front-facing TrueDepth system on the current iPhone X, with a triple-lens setup capable of stereoscopic imaging.
With stereoscopic imaging, two of the sensors would be able to capture images of a single object from different angles. A triangulation method would then be used to obtain the distance between the iPhone and the object.
The third lens would also likely enable 3x optical zoom on an iPhone for the first time, enabling users to magnify the image in the viewfinder by up to three times without a blurry reduction in quality like digital zoom.
Bloomberg News last year reported that Apple aims to include rear-facing 3D sensing capabilities in its 2019 iPhones. At the time, Apple was said to be evaluating a time-of-flight approach that calculates the time it takes for a laser to bounce off surrounding objects to create a 3D image of the environment.
While the exact implementation remains to be seen, it’s clear that the rear camera could play a big role in the augmented reality capabilities of future iPhones. Last year, Apple released ARKit, a framework that enables developers to incorporate augmented reality into their apps on iOS 11 and later.
Apple previews ARKit 2 during WWDC 2018 at around 22:05 mark of video
At WWDC 2018 last month, Apple previewed ARKit 2, with shared experiences like multiplayer games, persistent augmented reality, extended support for image detection and tracking, and more.
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