Apple Looking to Take AR Further Ahead by Including Rear 3D Sensors in iPhone

November 17, 2017, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Apple’s iPhone X has taken the use of augmented reality in smartphones to a new level, all thanks to the laser-backed 3D sensors they used along with the front-cam in iPhone X. But the company is now looking to push it further ahead, or rather further behind the device by adding 3D sensors to the rear-cam.

Recent reports suggest that Apple is now working on prototypes of a new 3D sensor that would deviate from the TrueDepth sensors used in iPhone X in terms of depth calculation. The latter made use of measurement distortions of laser beams projected on a face to help it create the augmented objects.

But its new sensors for the rear-side will rather opt a time-of-flight approach to calculate those measurements, i.e. by measuring the time taken for laser to bounce off surrounding objects.

Apple is said to be carrying out talks with a host of companies dealing with time-of-flight technology, which include Infineon, Sony, and Panasonic along with the rest. The tests are still in its early stage, but we could see its presence in the 2019 editions of iPhones if it all goes well.

That would mean that Apple will have 3D sensors on both the rear and front side of the device. The latter will be dedicated for augmented reality applications, while the former will also lend a hand for the Face ID feature for face recognition and unlocking. Recently, rumors have pointed out the possibility of Apple launching two new variants of its bezel-less iPhones. It remains to be seen whether the rear-sensor will be accommodated on both of those variants.

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