iPhone 8 May Feature Rear-Facing 3D Laser for Improved Autofocus and AR

MacRumors

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Apple is working on a rear-facing 3D laser system that will enable better depth detection for augmented reality apps and more accurate autofocus in the iPhone 8, reports Fast Company, citing a source with knowledge of the company's plans.

The iPhone 8 is said to use a VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser) system for the rear camera, which analysts have previously speculated could be added to the device. There's also been some evidence that Apple has been sourcing VCSEL components from companies like Lumentum and Finisar, and Fast Company says Apple has tapped both companies along with II-VI for sensors.

iPhone 8 rendering via OnLeaks and TigerMobiles​

VCSEL would offer faster and more accurate depth measurements for augmented reality purposes, along with speedier autofocusing when taking a photograph.
VCSEL laser systems calculate the distance the light travels from the laser to the target and back to the sensor, and generate a Time of Flight (TOF) measurement. The system consists of a source (the VCSEL laser), a lens, detector (sensor), and a processor. The whole thing costs about $2 per phone, our source says.
That Apple is working on improved augmented reality hardware for the iPhone 8 is no surprise given the focus on augmented reality and ARKit in iOS 11. New 3D camera technology was rumored for the rear-facing camera as early as November of 2016, and multiple design leaks point towards a revamped vertical dual-lens camera, suggesting a major camera revamp. The front-facing camera is also expected to include a new 3D sensor that would enable facial recognition.

According to Fast Company's source, the VCSEL system for the rear-facing camera is "probably intended" for the upcoming iPhone 8, but its inclusion "depends on the progress" Apple engineers make integrating it into the iPhone.

As we learned in a report yesterday, the source that Fast Company has spoken to believes iPhone features "can remain fluid until deep in the summer" ahead of an iPhone launch, though it seems more logical that work on the iPhone 8 is complete as we are just two months away from its prospective September introduction. Given the many rumors of a major camera redesign and previous rumors pointing towards 3D capabilities, a VCSEL laser system is a reasonable feature to expect to see in the device.

Fast Company's previous report suggested there is a "sense of panic" in the air at Apple as engineers and designers struggle to work out software problems with wireless charging and the 3D sensors meant for the device. The site also said Touch ID was "likely" to be included in the iPhone 8, despite multiple rumors suggesting it's been removed in favor of facial recognition.

Article Link: iPhone 8 May Feature Rear-Facing 3D Laser for Improved Autofocus and AR
 

Manzzle

macrumors 6502
Jun 11, 2012
259
252
Last night I heard that the iPhone 8 could go for up to $1.3k.

If this phone starts out above $999.00 I'd be hoping it has ALL the bells and whistles, so more features bring them on.

Your gonna have to work hard for my money this time Apple!

My 7 Plus is in no hurry to go anywhere.
 

Infiniverse48

macrumors 6502a
Jun 28, 2017
881
723
This would mean near-instantaneous autofocus, far superior Bokeh effect, and far superior AR. Of course this was going to come to iPhones for AR purposes, but no schematic leaks have suggested the presence of these sensors on the rear of the 2017 iPhone. It seems more likely this is a 2018 feature. Certainly something that sparks curiosity in my mind is where they can fit these sensors due to the unbelievable internal space usage they have engineered the 2017 iPhone for. If it has these sensors on the rear as well, it's simply astounding engineering and it deserves pure praise for the internal hardware engineering.

The things you can do with sensors like this on the rear of the device are going to be groundbreaking. Computers need these sensors as they give the computer 3D vision. Computer vision is essential for the profound things AR could accomplish. It needs to be able to see the object in 3D so it can recognize it with far greater accuracy.
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First time in awhile nobody knows what's really going on with next iPhone. Finally a bit of excitement.
Well I'd say many things are known, but like always, specifics of certain aspects remain unknown or highly questionable.
 

aaronhead14

macrumors 6502a
Mar 9, 2009
920
3,930
The rumors surrounding this phone are all over the place. Makes me wonder if Apple's design teams are even focused. Seems like they're just a bunch of guys with ADD.
 
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Mr. Dee

macrumors 68020
Dec 4, 2003
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Guess what, after the iPhone 8 is released, we are going to: eat, sleep, defecate just the same and there will be another one next year and our lives are not going to be dramatically improved by it. But guess what, Apple will get more money, Tim, Angela, Eddy, Jony, Craig will get a raise. Seriously, if you have an iPhone 7, 6s, 6, 5s, 5, keep it and save the money until 2020. Only people should be upgrading are 2g, 3g, 3gs, 4 and 4s.
 

Infiniverse48

macrumors 6502a
Jun 28, 2017
881
723
Guess what, after the iPhone 8 is released, we are going to: eat, sleep, defecate just the same and there will be another one next year and our lives are not going to be dramatically improved by it. But guess what, Apple will get more money, Tim, Angela, Eddy, Jony, Craig will get a raise. Seriously, if you have an iPhone 7, 6s, 6, 5s, 5, keep it and save the money until 2020. Only people should be upgrading are 2g, 3g, 3gs, 4 and 4s.
Or people who want a significantly better experience. Sorry but this year is the year to upgrade. It's a bigger upgrade than any previous year, and I'm talking actual useful features, namely a larger display in a similar sized device, and the number one feature is a larger display in a similarly sized device because the display is the most fundamental aspect to a smartphone.
 

TheTruth101

Suspended
Mar 15, 2017
253
771
Last night I heard that the iPhone 8 could go for up to $1.3k.

If this phone starts out above $999.00 I'd be hoping it has ALL the bells and whistles, so more features bring them on.

Your gonna have to work hard for my money this time Apple!

My 7 Plus is in no hurry to go anywhere.
Case 1: Mommy, someone took my iPhone 8 at school :....(
Case 2: Dear, I think your iPhone 8 went overboard....
Case 3: Daddy.... I left my iPhone 8 in the cab I think
Case 4: Baby, I think my iPhone 8 felt from my pocket at the movie theater...

$1000......!!!!
 
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Michaelgtrusa

macrumors 604
Oct 13, 2008
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The first VCSEL was presented in 1979 by Soda, Iga, Kitahara and Yasuharu Suematsu,[14] but devices for CW operation at room temperature were not reported until 1988.[15] The first semiconductor VCSEL was invented by Axel Scherer and Jack Jewell, two scientists at the AT&T Bell Laboratories. The term VCSEL was coined in a publication of the Optical Society of America in 1987.[citation needed] Today, VCSELs have replaced edge-emitting lasers in applications for short-range fiberoptic communication such as Gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel.


Finisar
Headquarters Sunnyvale, California

Lumentum is headquartered in Milpitas, California
 

CarlJ

macrumors 68040
Feb 23, 2004
3,033
4,610
San Diego, CA, USA
The rumors surrounding this phone are all over the place. Makes me wonder if Apple's design teams are even focused. Seems like they're just a bunch of guys with ADD.
The parable of "the blind men and an elephant" comes into play here in a big way...

Apple is famous for trying out and rejecting large numbers of ideas, either because they don't pan out, or because they can't be ready in time (maybe next year) or because they end up too expensive, or because the needed parts can't be sourced at rates of close to a million per day.

Word of some idea will get out and make big headlines on rumor sites, even though the idea was discussed, maybe prototyped, and long since rejected, inside Apple. And this repeats many times, one analyst saying it'll have X, another saying Y, another Z. And people put all the rumors together and then expect the phone to have dozens of features that Apple never said it would have (yes, they tried features X and Y - those didn't pan out).

This is one of the reasons they generally don't announce roadmaps of models/features months in advance like some other companies - it allows them to change their mind about which features should make the final cut, very late in the process. So Apple is focused... on the ideas/features that passed muster (a list which will not be as long as all the features that have been rumored at one point or another).

Me, I think if it comes with lasers, it should come with sharks too.

I'm just looking forward to the 7s (assuming that's the likely name of the non-premium model), because my 6 is starting to need replacing, and I'd rather not buy a 7 right before the 7s drops - I expect the 7s will almost certainly have the usual array of CPU/GPU/camera improvements over the 7.