If you remember the time when Apple introduced iPhone 5s in 2013, it introduced Touch ID. Back in those days, a fingerprint scanner like Touch ID was a big deal and other smartphone makers rushed to implement the technology in their devices. And till this date, that fingerprint-sensing solution has proven to be the biggest game-changer for many smartphone makers.
Then in November 2017 came the ultra-premium, stylish iPhone X. Gearing up for a new change, Apple gave away fingerprint sensor and came with a whole new technology called Face ID that used the front camera to unlock a smartphone. Rumors came that the iPhone maker actually failed to implement in-display fingerprint sensor, but was it the case? No. Apple changed the smartphone industry again and face-unlock became the new thing in the smartphone industry.
Now, unlike others, Apple Face ID was different. It used something called TrueDepth camera, giving a 3D facial recognition and that’s why you cannot spoof Apple Face ID with a picture which we can do in many other devices around. The picture is on a stage when we are yet to discover 3D sensing facial unlock in any other smartphone.
The respected and renowned analyst Ming-Chi Kuo with TF International Securities has said that Apple is not done with this 3D sensing and it has future plans for the next two years with this technology in upcoming iPhones.
Upgraded TrueDepth for 2019
Kuo said that Apple will be upgrading TrueDepth for 2019. That means the successor of the current iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR will get an upgraded 3D sensing centralizing more on speed enhancement.
“We believe that Apple will raise the output power of the flood illuminator VCSEL [vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser] to lower the impacts from invisible lights of [the] environment in order to improve the Face ID user experience,” Kuo said.
Although, Apple made it clear that the company was all-in on Face ID with iPhone X and since then it has only proliferated it across other products that include all new iPhones of 2018 and the latest iPad Pro tablets.
Now, Apple has spent $14.2 billion in R&D and it was towards improving the technology. Maybe we are about to see something unexpected next year that will change the smartphone game again.
According to Kuo, Apple has no plans of adding 3D sensing to the rear camera and of course, that would be too predictable. However, he said, Some might launch the technology in subsequent years via the ToF or “time-of-flight” solution.
ToF “is designed to determine the distance between objects by measuring the time-of-flight of a light or laser signal between the camera and the subject at each point in the image,” MacRumors explained.
Kuo said that this technology in upcoming iPhones of 2020 “will create the new [augmented reality] experience and improve photo quality.”
Furthermore, the analyst said that this ToF technology implementation “may adopt the higher-than-1,000nm wavelength VCSEL (vs. current Face ID’s 935-945nm) for better system design and user experience.”
Apple has been heavily investing in augmented reality and camera quality has always been an important factor for all potential iPhone buyers. Given the facts, the introduction of ToF depth-sensing solution in the rear cameras of the 2020 iPhones should be expected.