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iPhone 12 cameras: new 3D ToF sensors

It was the launch of the iPhone 11 in September last year and already started an endless number of rumours about the next generation. Today, we still know aspects of the iPhone 12 -or whatever Apple wants to call it- and the truth is that the closer we get to the launch date, the more accurate the information will be. On this occasion, we will go into the new features that your camera will have.

New sensors for the iPhone 12 camera

Even before the current generation of iPhone was released, we knew that Apple was developing new sensors to add to its 2020 phone. One of them is called 3D ToF, acronym for Time of Fly and it incorporates a specialized technology for detecting people and objects thanks to the fact that it emits a series of infrared lasers.

iPhone 12 cameras: new 3D ToF sensors
iPhone 12 cameras: new 3D ToF sensors

Example of ToF sensor

According to reports from Fast Company, Cupertino’s company has already contacted VSCEL, a well-known laser company, to order the supply of these for the iPhone 12 ToF sensors. In practice we can see the utility of this sensor in the field of augmented reality , an area in which Apple is also putting much focus in recent years. But beyond that we can also see improvements in the normal and portrait mode photographs in a similar way to what happens with the TrueDepth sensors that we have on the front and that make Face ID possible.

There are still no known features that Apple will implement with this sensor, but it would not be unreasonable to use it for new augmented reality applications. In fact, it has already been rumored that this year the firm led by Tim Cook will place special emphasis on these issues with launches of related products such as AirTags.

Three or four cameras?

As we look at the smartphone market we can see how the trend of incorporating more and more cameras is a reality. Beyond this, it seems that Apple does not want to compete with Android rivals for the number but for the quality that these lenses bring to the photographs. However, this year there could be another increase in the number, going from three to four cameras.

The exact number of iPhones to be launched this year is unknown, unlike previous years when three versions were released. Therefore we could see that of the models to be launched, some will carry three and others four cameras. Probably the ToF sensors mentioned in this article will be only for the four camera ones, possibly the ‘Pro’ ones. Although it does not seem unreasonable that it is a common novelty for all as it was the night mode or the ultra wide angle lens of the iPhone 11.

Renderings designed by analysts and sources close to Apple do not help either, since they can be seen of all kinds: with three, four cameras, with front end without notch, with reduced notch, with notch like the current one… Therefore it is tremendously complicated for us to differentiate which ones can be closer to the future reality. Therefore, we can only hope for new information that will clarify the panorama a little. That or wait for the September keynote and let Apple herself reveal it to us.

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