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Apple Wants The 2019 iPhones To Have Laser-Based 3D Sensors: What Will They Be Used For?

14 November 2017, 8:48 pm EST By Aaron Mamiit Tech Times
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Researcher finds way to 'hack' iPhone X face ID
Apple is working to integrate rear-facing, laser-based 3D sensors into the 2019 iPhone models. The new system will perform 3D mapping by releasing lasers on objects and then calculating the time for the lasers to bounce back.  ( Apple )

The iPhone X has only recently been launched, but Apple is already looking ahead to its successors with the 2018 iPhone models and even in 2019.

Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that there will be three 2018 iPhone models, all of which will look like the bezel-less iPhone X. A new report, meanwhile, believes that Apple will introduce a breakthrough feature in the 2019 iPhones.

2019 iPhones Equipped With Laser-Based 3D Sensors

According to a Bloomberg report, sources said that Apple is working to have a rear-facing, laser-based 3D sensor system for the 2019 iPhone.

The iPhone X already has a 3D sensor in the form of the TrueDepth camera system, which combines the technology with infrared sensors to power the Face ID and Animoji features. The 3D sensors help in creating a three-dimensional map of the user's face, which is why hackers have to go through a lot of hoops to try to trick Face ID security.

Bloomberg said that Apple is now looking to integrate a similar 3D mapping system to the rear-facing camera of the 2019 iPhone models. However, instead of infrared dots that map out faces, the new system will release lasers on objects and calculate the time it takes for the lasers to bounce back.

What Are The Laser-Based 3D Sensors For?

The purpose of the laser-based 3D sensors is for what CEO Tim Cook believes would play a huge part in the future of Apple: augmented reality.

The current rear-facing cameras of iPhones enable augmented reality apps but are limited, as they are not able to process non-flat surfaces. Current AR apps for the iOS can place virtual objects in space relative to flat surfaces, but they could not, for example, place the virtual objects behind a real-world item.

The laser-based 3D sensors will make augmented reality apps even more useful, as the limitations in current rear-facing cameras will be no more. The technology is being tested by Apple and under development in companies such as Panasonic, Sony, STMicroelectronics, and Infineon Technologies.

However, one problem that might stem from the new laser-based sensors is that it will require a fourth toolset for iOS augmented reality apps, in addition to the ones used for the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 models, and the iPhone 6S and iPhone 7.

In any case, even more powerful support for augmented reality in the iPhone will nudge Apple into the future that Cook believes in for the company.

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