State-of-Art 3D Camera Could Support AR Headset

It’s been years since the new version of Apple’s iPhone debuted with a revolutionary change. The upgraded cameras were among the most exciting in years, but removing the earphone jack and adding facial ID, well, just weren’t very exciting.

In its next iteration, however, iPhone plans to integrate a 3D camera, which is already sending waves of excitement through the blogosphere. Unlike the 3D app that already exists, the new technology will rely on three cameras and a laser scanner, rather than the existing dot-projection technology which doesn’t work well over long distances. It will also have a more powerful chip to support it.

Bloomberg reported the detailed plans first in a story on January 30, but many other insider publications have jumped on the news and parsing what it will mean for the iPhone, which has been losing sales, partially due to its lack of innovation and the decision by loyal consumers to wait longer to buy a newer version.

“The 2020 iPhone camera may be a prelude to an AR headset that Apple has been preparing for as early as 2020. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the company’s plans, which could change,” Bloomberg reported.

The Grapevine reported that the new tech will likely be derived from the Israeli company Apple acquired called RealFace. That company pioneered the facial recognition technology currently being used to open up the iPhone 8.

The iPhone8 integrated the facial recognition technology created by the Israeli company that is refining the 3D tech.

A story in Forbes magazine quoting Bloomberg’s advance iPhone insights in December⏤now confirmed and further expanded on⏤said that the technology is significant because “it can bring focus to every part of a picture almost instantaneously and even track objects at night. For security, it can map a user’s face for high-grade facial mapping and unlocking,” simplifying the current system.

The iPhone advances are more dramatic than they may seem at first glance because of the broad impact on other aspects photo apps.

Bloomberg reported, “A third camera on the back of the 2019 iPhone will help the device capture a larger field of view and enable a wider range of zoom. It will also capture more pixels so Apple software could, for example, automatically repair a video or photo to fit in a subject that may have been accidentally cut off from the initial shot, according to the people familiar with the plans. The company is also planning an enhanced version of its Live Photos feature, which pins video from before and after each shot to the photo. The new version will double the length of the video from three seconds to six seconds.”

In addition, the company is planning to swap out the lightning port for a USB-C connector, which would make its chargers universally compatible, instead of proprietary.

CNBC previously interviewed Apple CEO Tim Cook who said that adding advanced AR technology will be important to the company’s future. Both iPhones and iPads will feature the 3D cameras.