What Apple Might Bring To 2019’s iPhones, According To New Partner Sony3 min read

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2018 had proven to be an underwhelming year for Apple fans. Not only was iPhone XS nearly indistinguishable in design to that of the iPhone X, but the rumor mill also suggested that 2019’s iPhones are going to mirror its predecessors, and might as well be called ‘iPhone XSS’.

Things might finally turn around for anyone hoping to see something different in iPhones this year. Bloomberg reveals that Apple is working with Sony to bring long-distance 3D cameras in its iPhones—and its source is none other than Satoshi Yoshihara, Sony’s head of sensors division, himself.

“Cameras revolutionized phones, and based on what I’ve seen, I have the same expectation for 3D [cameras],” Yoshihara said.

The cameras are expected to be integrated in the fronts and rears of Apple’s next-generation models. Yoshihara projected that they will be ready in 2019, and that the company will be “kicking off mass production in late summer to meet demand” in time for Apple’s iPhone launch in September.

Sony’s 3D cameras set themselves apart from the rest with its ‘Time of Flight’ technology, which emits invisible laser pulses and measures the time before the pulses bounce back to craft out 3D models of objects in detail. Through this system, objects can be perceived from up to five meters away.

This 3D technology would allow iPhones to capture every aspect of a picture and detect objects at night almost instantly, which will understandably boost the quality of photos snapped in the dark.

Most notably, Sony’s variation might offer a superior alternative to Apple’s short-range ‘TrueDepth’ technology, which powers Face ID and currently requires the notorious notch to function. Sony’s long range version could eliminate the need for Apple’s complex multi-sensor Face ID system; in turn, this could shrink, and ultimately take away, the notch.

With the presence of long distance 3D cameras, the new iPhones would also be able to map rooms and items to create immersive AR and VR experiences. These subjects include users themselves, according to Yoshihara, who might be able to manipulate gaming environments with their hands, as well as cast spells and “fight” with gestures. These suggestions were demonstrated to Bloomberg.

Sony’s partnership follows reports that Apple is currently working with Samsung to design a slimmer and lighter iPhone for 2019, thanks to Samsung’s redefined OLED displays.

Take a look at a concept for Apple’s 2019 iPhone if it integrated Sony’s 3D cameras.

[via Forbes and Bloomberg Quint, images via various sources]