Two Upcoming 2020 iPhones to Feature Time-of-Flight 3D Sensing Rear Cameras

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Two of the iPhones set to be released in 2020 will feature 3D sensing rear camera setups with time-of-flight (ToF) camera lenses, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who shared the info in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors.

A time-of-flight camera system measures the time that it takes for a laser or LED to bounce off of objects in a room, providing an accurate 3D map of the surroundings.


All three of the new iPhones are also expected to feature a front-facing camera system with Face ID, which deviates a bit from some rumors that have suggested an under-display fingerprint sensor could be coming to some 2020 iPhone models.
We predict that three new 2H20 iPhone models will all be equipped with front Face ID, and two of the new models will provide rear ToF. We estimate that shipments of iPhone models equipped with front and rear VCSEL (front structure light and rear ToF) will be 45mn units in 2020.
We've previously heard multiple rumors suggesting a time-of-flight camera system for the 2020 iPhones, including info from Kuo himself, but this is the first time that he's specified that he expects the 3D sensing camera system to be available in just two of the three upcoming 2020 iPhones.

Kuo goes on to say that a rear time-of-flight camera would bolster photo quality and offer new and improved AR applications. Apple and Huawei are believed to be the "most aggressive brand vendors" supporting 5G and ToF in 2020.

The current 3D sensing capabilities used in the front-facing True Depth camera system rely on infrared cameras and a dot projector to create a 3D image, but ToF systems use lasers technology, calculating the time it takes for a laser to bounce off of surrounding objects to create a 3D image of what's around you. ToF offers up more accurate depth perception, resulting in better placement of virtual objects, and it should offer up improved images thanks to the more advanced depth information.

Previous rumors from Bloomberg have suggested that the rear camera in Apple's 2020 iPhones, which will use use VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser) technology, will be able to scan objects up to 15 feet away, mapping out wide areas. Face ID currently works at about 25 to 50 centimeters away.

Kuo said in a prior investor's note that implementing ToF would require 5G connectivity because Apple would want to use the feature to create a "revolutionary AR experience." All 2020 iPhones are expected to feature 5G chips.

Rumors suggest Apple is planning to release three iPhones in 2020, but in new sizes. Apple is said to be working on 5.4 and 6.7-inch high-end iPhones with OLED displays, which would presumably be the devices to adopt the 3D-capable rear camera systems, and a lower-cost 6.1-inch model with an OLED display.

More information on what to expect in the 2020 iPhones can be found in the dedicated what's next section of our 2019 iPhone roundup.

Article Link: Two Upcoming 2020 iPhones to Feature Time-of-Flight 3D Sensing Rear Cameras
 
Last edited:

cmaier

macrumors P6
Jul 25, 2007
18,080
16,159
California
I wish this would have explained what Time of Flight means
You shine a laser out of the phone and time how fast it bounces back. The camera can thus easily build up a 3-d understanding of how far everything is in front of it. Allows easy capture of 3-d models ,but also provides useful information about what to focus on and how to focus.
 

s54

Suspended
Sep 25, 2012
505
585
So it looks like the 2020 iPhones will still have Face ID with a notch. So much for everyone ditching the 2019 and waiting for the 2020. Looks like they'll be waiting for the 2021+ LMAO
 
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pika2000

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Jun 22, 2007
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Recent phone with ToF sensor is the Huawei P30 Pro, and then hardly anyone even talked about that sensor in reviews. So I’m not sure the big practical use of it. Obviously Apple is going to use it for AR. But as a consumer, I don’t feel it’s a huge enough feature for me to wait for.
 
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PastaPrimav

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There comes a point where you cannot keep making improvements to the camera without making the lens bigger.

That point has come for Apple, and their answer is instead to add more gimmicks and more lenses.

With the amount of space Apple is clearly willing to occupy on the back of the phone, we could have 1 giant lens that instantly improves upon the photo quality by leaps. We could even have 1 large retractable lens and then suddenly iPhone, for all its innovation and popularity in photography, would finally be better than a $100 Point-and-shoot digital camera.

Just imagine if we had that. Combine a real lens with all of Apple's amazing ISP and neural engine tech and we'd really have something worth talking about.
 

coolfactor

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2002
4,651
4,693
Vancouver, BC
It’s hilarious and ridiculous how all the iPhone rumors are about iPhone 2020. Hardly anything about 2019. It’s as if Apple have given up on this year’s release and are just focusing on 2020.
The latest generation of phones are already faster and more powerful than any of us truly need, so what "upgrades" are needed now? Yes, we'll get 2019 iPhones, but honestly, don't expect anything groundbreaking this year.
[doublepost=1564421504][/doublepost]
There comes a point where you cannot keep making improvements to the camera without making the lens bigger.

That point has come for Apple, and their answer is instead to add more gimmicks and more lenses.

With the amount of space Apple is clearly willing to occupy on the back of the phone, we could have 1 giant lens that instantly improves upon the photo quality by leaps. We could even have 1 large retractable lens and then suddenly iPhone, for all its innovation and popularity in photography, would finally be better than a $100 Point-and-shoot digital camera.

Just imagine if we had that. Combine a real lens with all of Apple's amazing ISP and neural engine tech and we'd really have something worth talking about.
Multiple lens are more powerful than one giant lens. That's why we have two eyes instead of one, and why a bee has a thousand "eyes". The brain can combine multiple images together and get more detail that a single lens could capture alone.
 

xgman

macrumors 603
Aug 6, 2007
5,039
804
What do we care what 2020 phones will feature a year + out? This tells me that the 2019 iphones much be pretty boring.
 
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