Apple iPhone: Rear Facing 3D Sensor Coming?

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So, if the Animoji app mostly just relies of a front-facing RGB camera and a bit of software, why is this feature restricted exclusively to the iPhone X? The new system will perform 3D mapping by releasing lasers on objects and then calculating the time for the lasers to bounce back. A rear-facing 3D sensor would help remedy that.

Apple says on its website that Animoji requires the TrueDepth camera system which consists of infrared and front cameras, flood illuminator, proximity and ambient light sensors, microphone and speaker, and dot projector.

According to a report on Bloomberg, the company is going to use a "time-of-flight" method in the 2019 iPhone.

It is unlikely it would do that, however, as the two-camera system on iPhones is used for more than just measuring depth.

Apple, however, has enabled its augmented reality development kit only for the front camera of the iPhone X, not the other lowly iPhones, so you will still need that expensive gear to swap your face with the one of a talking pig, and startle the natives in the Amazonian rainforests.

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. Infineon stands out from the pack since it has already worked with Google for the AR-centric Project Tango back in 2014.

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Apple is planning to bring a 3D sensor to the rear side of the next iPhone to be launched in 2019. Infineon's depth sensing technologies are already on Lenovo's Phab 2 Pro and the Asus ZenFone AR.

The objective 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 introduction of ARKit allowed developers to create AR apps that can identify flat surfaces, but it still has trouble with walls, doors and windows. Apple has started discussions with prospective suppliers of the new system, the people said.

You can even recreate Animoji-like experiences with App Store apps like SUPERMOJI on any iPhone or iPad running iOS 11 (which is my solution to letting my four-year-old daughter do what she calls "make faces" without handing over my iPhone X), but performance isn't as polished as the real thing.

Meanwhile, Apple may be facing legal issues from use of some technologies.

The $1579 iPhone X has the best tech Apple could put in a phone.

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