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Apple looks increasingly unlikely to expand its LiDAR Scanner to the entire iPhone 13 lineup this year, despite some rumors to the contrary.

iphone-12-pro-lidar-scanner-video.jpg

The LiDAR Scanner is a small sensor that uses 3D sensing to measure the distance to surrounding objects up to five meters away. This technology allows for enhanced augmented reality experiences and other unique capabilities, such as the ability to measure a person's height instantly.

Apple introduced the LiDAR scanner on the iPad Pro in March 2020, and later expanded it to the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max. Since then, there have been conflicting rumors about whether Apple will bring the feature to all iPhone 13 models in 2021.

A DigiTimes report in January first suggested this was part of Apple's plans for its next flagship lineup, and that we could expect LiDAR in the iPhone 13 mini and standard iPhone 13. Apple frequently introduces new features or specs on higher-end devices before trickling them down to lower-end devices in later years, so the claim seemed credible at the time.

Two months later, however, reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the rear LiDAR Scanner would actually remain limited to iPhone 13 Pro models, a claim which was quickly corroborated by sources who spoke to Barclays analysts.

Despite that pushback, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives has twice claimed this year that all iPhone 13 models will feature LiDAR, but support for that idea now seems more elusive than ever.

Leaker "Dylandkt," who has been accurate in the past about Apple product details before they were launched, said today that LiDAR is "only coming to the Pro iPhone models," regardless of hints earlier in the year suggesting otherwise.

Even if LiDAR doesn't come to the non-Pro variants of the iPhone 13, we do still expect other camera-related feaures being expanded across the entire iPhone lineup, including sensor-shift stabilization, which will introduce improvements in low light performance and stabilization by reducing camera shake.

There's also the possibility that all iPhones will receive an upgraded Ultra Wide camera lens with a wider f/1.8 aperture, although Kuo believes this upgrade will be exclusive to the Pro models. Lastly, display analyst Ross Young believes the entire 2021 iPhone lineup will use the same camera sensors as the iPhone 12 Pro Max, bringing overall improvements to the lower-end models.

Article Link: Leaker: LiDAR Scanner to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 13 'Pro' Models This Year
 
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mook

macrumors member
Mar 6, 2006
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Would be great to see it across the board, it makes AR so much quicker at relocating within a world map, and more stable while in use.

To be honest I haven't noticed that much of a speedup from Lidar in focusing times and video focus is sometimes still missed.
 

Greenmeenie

macrumors 68000
Jan 14, 2013
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As Virtual Reality becomes more mainstream LiDar will definitely be on ALL iPhones. I dunno if we’re there yet. So i could see this article as being accurate. Who knows. As a photographer, I always get the Pro Max models for the cameras anyway.
 

PhillyGuy72

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2014
2,496
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Philadelphia, PA USA
If this was supposed to improve focusing at night, I'm not impressed. I was trying to grab video of some intense storms last week, I could see the tree in the distance on my screen but the focus was still a disappointment.

I did try a 3D LiDAR app a few months ago, trying an AR grab of my office. Either the app was trash, or that is how um..good this Lidar works. 😑
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,699
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Location Location Location
Don’t care.

The larger sensor on all iPhones (same as 12 Max) sounds like a nice upgrade though. Same with sensor shift. Even then, I don’t care too much.

I want the Mini to get a larger battery (rumoured). That’s it. If it doesn’t, then I’ll get the 13 Pro or just stick with my XR.
 

Saturnine

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Oct 23, 2005
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Manchester, UK
Hmm. Undoubtedly Apple employs engineers, designers and marketeers who are smarter than me. Perhaps that’s why I don’t understand this decision.

I’m sure it’s technically feasible to put a LiDAR Scanner into all of the new models so the decision not to do so much either be down to cost or in order to “up sell” to the Pro models.

The trouble is that I don’t see many developers wanting to take advantage of LiDAR while it’s use is restricted to a relatively small percentage of users.

According to data from DeviceAtlas (2020) only around 10% of total iPhone users own the “Pro” versions of the latest model (iPhone 11 at the time the data was published in December 2020).

Why would developers create an app that can only be used by 10% of its customer base? Granted, that number will grow each year LiDAR is around, and it’ll grow to a point where it’s gotten enough traction to make app development worthwhile. But it would grow considerable quicker (twice as fast, according to the data) if it was made available across the line up.

If LiDAR had been available across the range last year, then around 40% of iPhones in the wild would have it by December this year. As it stands, it will probably be half that number.
 

Razorpit

macrumors 6502
Feb 2, 2021
447
651
Lidar scanner. The new touchbar.
Now that’s not true. I’ve actually used the touch bar 2-3 times. 😉

Never used it don’t know why we even have it
To make the Touch Bar appear like a useful addition.

Hmm. Undoubtedly Apple employs engineers, designers and marketeers who are smarter than me. Perhaps that’s why I don’t understand this decision.

I’m sure it’s technically feasible to put a LiDAR Scanner into all of the new models so the decision not to do so much either be down to cost or in order to “up sell” to the Pro models.

The trouble is that I don’t see many developers wanting to take advantage of LiDAR while it’s use is restricted to a relatively small percentage of users.

According to data from DeviceAtlas (2020) only around 10% of total iPhone users own the “Pro” versions of the latest model (iPhone 11 at the time the data was published in December 2020).

Why would developers create an app that can only be used by 10% of its customer base? Granted, that number will grow each year LiDAR is around, and it’ll grow to a point where it’s gotten enough traction to make app development worthwhile. But it would grow considerable quicker (twice as fast, according to the data) if it was made available across the line up.

If LiDAR had been available across the range last year, then around 40% of iPhones in the wild would have it by December this year. As it stands, it will probably be half that number.
Maybe these sensors are nothing more than some kind of test run/scale to production effort for the AppleCar? I can’t honestly think of anything other use right now. I don’t see it as being a big help in photography like I had hoped.
 
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