Just when you thought you knew everything about Apple’s upcoming iPhone range, a new report surfaces which instantly brings some new information to the table.

Fast Company is now reporting that Cupertino-based Apple Inc. is developing a vertical-cavity-surface-emitting-laser (VSCEL) system, with the likely intention being to integrate it into the high-end iPhone 8 model.

It’s pretty much already been accepted that Apple will build a system into the forward-facing camera which allows 3D depth sensing. It has been speculated that the company will include proprietary software that would allow this function to be used for facial detection and biometric purposes in place of the tried-and-tested Touch ID operation.

This latest report suggests that Apple’s interpretation of a vertical-cavity-surface-emitting-laser (VSCEL) system could be used as a way of detecting distances to specific surfaces when used in conjunction with the company’s ARKit framework for augmented reality experiences.

All of these are actually currently possible to a certain degree using Apple’s iPhone 7. We’ve already played witness to a number of “built with ARKit” apps and demos which showcase exactly what is possible with Apple’s new ARKit framework. Those experiences are put in place utilizing Apple’s existing hardware and rely on complex calculations under-the-hood to use the data from the device’s existing camera. It seems that Apple will look to replace that system and the need for those complex calculations with this new VSCEL system, but will also potentially utilize it for fast autofocus purposes for traditional photography.

The report also goes as far as suggesting that Apple is working with Lumentum to get access to most of the lasers and components needed to equip iPhone 8 with this type of functionality. The remainder of the requirement will be produced and supplied by Finisar and II-VI. It all sounds wonderful, but there is, of course, a potential downside.

It seems that we can’t talk about iPhone 8 without a negative being thrown in, and in this instance, it’s the possibility that the 3D sensor may not actually be ready for a 2017 launch.

As we have previously stipulated, we never know what’s coming out of Apple’s doors until Tim Cook and his executive team takes to that stage to put it in front of our eyes. Speculation is great, but the real thing is so much better.

(Source: Fast Company)

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