It looks like Apple will retain the title of being the most innovative company in the future. According to a report, Apple is developing a new 3D sensor for its 2019 smartphone. It will bring a new layer of information to our hands in the form of AR (Augmented Reality). Example? Pokémon Go. AR is the addition of information like sound, video, graphics, haptics or GPS in the real world. It will lead to more real-world apps and service and enhance VR experience. Previously Asus has also launched an AR smartphone, the Zenfone AR.
The new Apple 3D sensor will work by firing lasers out of the device and measuring the time it takes for the reflection to get back to generate a depth map similar to Radar. Now a dual camera can also collect depth information and even the infrared sensor on the new iPhone X does. Even the new Google Pixel 2 also does that to produce the effect. Apple’s new sensor will use different technology for the 3D system than the technology used by the TrueDepth camera system which will enable better depth detection for augmented reality apps, and a more accurate type of autofocus for photography.
This is not the first time Apple hinted the development of a 3D sensor. This year in June Apple launched the augmented reality development kit (ARKit) which allows developers to build augmented reality apps for iOS. This directly pointed to the fact Apple will soon be releasing a device that will feature AR capabilities not just on the front but the back side as well. The TrueDepth feature will be retained in the future as well.
Interestingly, Apple supplier Lumentum has received over $200 million bookings for components for vertical-cavity-surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL) which are likely for the new device that will have the 3D sensor. Lumentum is rumoured to be one of around three companies supplying Apple with VCSEL components, the second being Finisar. A new report today also said Apple had started a discussion with the suppliers for the new system. Companies who manufacture time-of-flight sensors include Infineon Technologies AG, Sony Corp., STMicroelectronics NV and Panasonic Corp. Early stages of testing have also been done.
Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook believes AR as revolutionary as the smartphone itself. He said augmented reality (AR) would impact every sector and every industry- from enterprise to consumer, fashion, retail and beyond. He also mentioned we already see things that will transform the way we work, play, connect and learn. “AR is going to change the way we use technology forever,” he claims.
Not only Apple, but Google is also working with Infineon on depth perception as part of its AR development push, Project Tango, which was launched three years back. The chip was used in Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and Asus ZenFone AR, both being Android devices. Apple is also rumoured to be working on an augmented-reality headset which will be launched as early as 2020. They are already on top this year based on innovation like the Taptic Engine, A11 Bionic processor (neural engine ) and the latest Face ID system.