As Apple struggles to sell iPhones and faces up to the reality of being beaten in both the 5G and folding phone wars, it would seem that the company has plans to push the boundaries of photography with one of its upcoming phones.
According to a new report by Bloomberg, Apple is hard at work on an imaging system which will launch on its flagship iPhone in 2020. This new breed of camera will be capable of scanning the world around you and turning flat images into 3D objects.
It will use a laser-powered system supported by new and powerful chips and an enhanced lens. By pulling all of this tech together, the phone will be able to perform advanced depth analysis and map solid objects in your environment – something the company has already explored to some degree with its iPhone X range, which uses a 3D camera for its FaceID security system.
The fun thing here is that you’ll be able to take a photo of an object and send it to another person as a fully-realised 3D object that can be interacted with; it’s like like-gen AR. Bloomberg reports that this fancy new camera was almost included in 2018’s iPhones, but wasn’t quite ready in time.
We’ve seen a similiar 3D imaging setup on Honor’s recently-released View 20, but it hasn’t actually been fully activated yet, and it sounds like Apple’s approach is going to be even more advanced.
This 2020 breakthrough will be released after Apple’s 2019 iPhone flagship, which is believed to be the first iPhone to have more than two rear-facing cameras; three sensors will be present. Photography is clearly Apple’s key battleground for the next year and beyond, if Bloomberg’s report is to be believed.
The 2019 model will also offer a larger field of view, improved zoom, and perhaps even Pixel 3-style image enhancements, including the ability to edit a shot after it has been taken. These improvements will naturally trickle down to the later 2020 version.
Despite the groundbreaking tech included within – which also includes a better FaceID system and the inevitably more powerful CPU and GPU – the new iPhones are expected to look very much the same as the iPhone X, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. Apple is instead expected to overhaul the look of its iPhone range later in 2020.