At least one iPhone will have a rear-facing 3D depth camera

iPhone 11 Pro
iPhone 11 Pro (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Fast Company has added to rumors the next iPhone could contain a 3D depth camera.
  • The tech will be powered by a laser from San Jose company Lumentum.
  • At least one iPhone will feature the new technology.

A report from Fast Company claims that at least one new iPhone this year will feature a rear-facing 3D depth camera powered by San Jose company Lumentum's laser technology.

According to the report:

At least one of this year's iPhones will feature a 3D depth camera on its back, a source with knowledge confirms to Fast Company.The camera—actually a laser, sensor, and software system—emits light to measure the distance between the phone and various objects and surfaces in front of it. This detailed depth information will enable new photo and video effects, as well as better augmented reality experiences.iPhone engineers have been working on the rear-facing, or "world facing," 3D camera for at least two years now. It's been on a short list of possible feature additions for new iPhones, but until this year hasn't made the cut. In truth, Apple could decide to nix it this year, too. For now, though, it's in the design, which we'll hopefully get to see for the first time this fall (if the coronavirus doesn't get in the way of Apple's plans).

As mentioned, the report also states that the technology will feature a laser from San Jose company Lumentum, who currently supplies similar tech for the iPhone's front-facing 3D camera and Face ID.

Previously, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had claimed that at least two iPhones would feature a time-of-flight camera. The feature is also rumored to be making its way to the iPad Pro. Time-of-flight tech uses lasers to scan objects in the frame to create an accurate 3D picture of the shot and has useful implementations for AR.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9