Report Reveals Another Reason to Wait Until 2020 to Buy a New iPhone
Credit: Ben Geskin
The 2020 iPhone lineup is looking to be a major overhaul for Apple’s handsets. And today, TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that another major feature could be added to Apple’s flagship smartphones next year.
Kuo says that Apple is likely to implement 3D cameras with time-of-flight (ToF) lenses in future iPhones starting in 2020. At least two of the three devices released next year could feature the ToF sensors, Kuo says.
ToF is basically a way to provide a detailed 3D rendering or map of an environment by measuring the amount of time it takes for a laser to bounce off objects within that environment.
Kuo says that the 3D cameras, which may rely on VCSEL laser technology, will significantly improve overall photo quality, as well as offer new and improved augmented reality (AR) experiences. It’s similar to the TrueDepth camera on current iPhones, but would be used for different purposes.
Past reports have suggested that the technology will be able to scan objects up to 4.5 meters away. That means it’ll be significantly longer-range than Apple’s TrueDepth camera, which only works around 25 to 50 centimeters away.
It’s worth noting that rear-facing VCSEL cameras were originally rumored for the 2019 iPhone lineup. At this point, it seems that that prediction has been pushed back to 2020.
Interestingly, Kuo also predicts that all three 2020 iPhones could sport front-facing TrueDepth Cameras for Face ID. That does conflict with past reports suggesting that Apple will adopt in-display Touch ID for at least one handset that year.
Of course, it’s always possible that the 2020 iPhones could have Face ID and display-integrated fingerprint sensors. Apple has even considered this possibility for future iPhones itself in a past patent application.
Kuo also predicted in a past investor’s note that Apple will “aggressively” pursue 5G technology in its iPhones because of ToF. Why? Because Apple wants to create a “revolutionary AR experience” — something that would require 5G connectivity.
Luckily, Apple’s 2020 iPhones are largely expected to sport Qualcomm-produced 5G chips. Apple-produced 5G modems may be on the way too, but are likely a few year off.
2020 iPhone Rumors
Other rumors suggest that the 2020 iPhone lineup will come in new sizes, including a new 5.4-inch model and a 6.7-inch model released alongside a 6.1-inch handset. All three iPhones are expected to sport OLED displays.
While it may be too early to place any sure bets, rumors also indicate that some of the new devices could have significantly faster 5nm chips, slimmer (or nonexistent) notches, and USB-C instead of Lightning ports.