A new report says that Apple plans to add a new “world-facing” 3D depth sensor in at least one of the 2020 iPhones. This news come in after someone familiar with Apple’s plans noted that San Jose-based Lumentum has been tapped up to produce the VCSEL lasers needed to make it work.

Apple already uses similar lasers in its True Depth camera system, used for Face ID on the iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone 11 lineups.

But this new implementation will allow for different capabilities. And it will be located around the back of the iPhone this time.

But it’s still not guaranteed that it will happen this year, as Fast Company notes. Apple has already been working on this technology for at least two years and hasn’t seen fit to launch it yet.

iPhone engineers have been working on the rear-facing, or “world facing,” 3D camera for at least two years now. It’s been on a short list of possible feature additions for new iPhones, but until this year hasn’t made the cut. In truth, Apple could decide to nix it this year, too. For now, though, it’s in the design, which we’ll hopefully get to see for the first time this fall (if the coronavirus doesn’t get in the way of Apple’s plans).

It’s thought that the new laser would allow iPhones to create improved Portrait Mode images as well as enable new augmented reality options for developers. Apple is thought to be keen on AR for a number of implementations, and adding the hardware needed to push the feature forward makes tons of sense on the 2020 flagship models.

But all of Apple’s plans are currently in flux thanks to coronavirus. Is it possible we won’t even see a new iPhone this year?

(Source: Fast Company)

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