Two 2020 iPhone models predicted to have front and back VCSEL rangefinders

Posted:
in iPhone edited June 2020
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is predicting that two out of the three iPhones expected in 2020 are going to have time of flight sensors, intended for photo quality and augmented reality applications.

The rear cameras on dummy models of Apple's expected new iPhones
The rear cameras on dummy models of Apple's expected new iPhones, with a similar design expected for 2020. Render by Benjamin Geskin


In a note seen by AppleInsider, Ming-Chi Kuo believes that "time of flight" vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) sensors will be included on the 2020 analogues to the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. Kuo is also predicting that the company will ship in total 45 million of so-equipped iPhones by the end of 2020

Huawei is also expected to add the technology, but starting in 2019 at some point. In total in 2019 and 2020, Huawei won't hit 45 million devices shipped, falling short at 39 million, according to Kuo.

Existing Apple supplier Lumentum is expected to benefit from the shift, as well as Win-semi, Crystal Optech, and Viavi to a lesser extent.

Apple's existing 3D hardware, TrueDepth, uses a single VCSEL to project structured light -- a grid of dots -- onto a subject. By measuring deviations and distortions in the grid, the system is able to generate a 3D maps that is in this case used for biometric authentication.

Slight alteration to the technology and receiving sensors can generate depth maps by measuring the time it takes pulses of light to travel to and from a target surface. In June 2017, reports indicated Apple was evaluating time of flight for a rear-facing camera that would assist in augmented reality applications and faster, more accurate autofocus operation.

Rumors have previously suggested that Apple will use a smaller TrueDepth camera allowing it to shrink the notch on OLED screens, in conjunction with a seven-piece lens system for the rear camera. A more questionable claim is that there could be a China-exclusive model that switches out Face ID for subscreen Touch ID.

A recent rumor suggests that the Taptic Engine responsible for all of the iPhone haptics will see a revision in 2019, and carried along to the 2020 iPhone.

It is generally believed that Apple will have three models, all of them OLED-based, in 5.4-, 6.1-, and 6.7-inch sizes in 2020. Kuo previously believed that the 6.1-inch unit would forego 5G support, relegating it to mid-tier status like 2018's iPhone XR -- but has recently changed course on this prediction.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,506member
    Confusing. If all 3 iPhone models in 2020 release are OLED and 5G than beside screen size difference, which 2 iPhones get VCSEL range finders ? I guess all 3 will get range finder and price difference between them is based on the size since rest of functionalities are the same.
    edited July 2019 AppleExposed
  • Reply 2 of 8
    BeenBlacklistedBeenBlacklisted Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    5G is not till next year 2020, read more carefully.
  • Reply 3 of 8
    hentaiboyhentaiboy Posts: 1,233member
    It’s my understanding that phone sized VCSELs only have a range of a couple of meters. How’s that going to work for normal photography/AR?
  • Reply 4 of 8
    seanismorrisseanismorris Posts: 1,624member
    I not really seeing why people should care... So, we have an incremental improvement to autofocus?  Will people have 3D photos to take up multiples of more space?

    A smaller notch would be nice.  But, will that cause people to upgrade?

    I think Apple is going to confuse people, if they release three new models.  And, still making the 2 previous generations of iPhones...

    I realize Apple is trying to hit different price points but it’s messy, by my count is there will be over six models to chose from, not including referbs...

    Apple needs to work on simplifying consumers choices.  If they’re going to release 3 new models, they should keep only 1 from the previous generation. (3 models + XR for example)


  • Reply 5 of 8
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,105administrator
    hentaiboy said:
    It’s my understanding that phone sized VCSELs only have a range of a couple of meters. How’s that going to work for normal photography/AR?
    There's been some improvements in collimation as of late, but we'll see. For closer range applications like portrait mode, it could help even not improved.
  • Reply 6 of 8
    yojimbo007yojimbo007 Posts: 1,124member
    Whats all this talk about iphone 12 when iphone 11 is not even out yet.. Trying to get attention away from this years new iphone? Sigh
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 7 of 8
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,154member
    I not really seeing why people should care... So, we have an incremental improvement to autofocus?  Will people have 3D photos to take up multiples of more space?

    A smaller notch would be nice.  But, will that cause people to upgrade?

    I think Apple is going to confuse people, if they release three new models.  And, still making the 2 previous generations of iPhones...

    I realize Apple is trying to hit different price points but it’s messy, by my count is there will be over six models to chose from, not including referbs...

    Apple needs to work on simplifying consumers choices.  If they’re going to release 3 new models, they should keep only 1 from the previous generation. (3 models + XR for example)
    The point of annual, incremental improvements is not to convince (most) people to upgrade their devices. It’s to continually improve the product so that when you do upgrade, you have something notably better than your last phone, which is likely several years old. 

    Dunno why this is so confusing to people. 

    And I doubt people will be confused. Two of the phones (historically) are almost identical except size. If the knockoff brands can have entire lines of phones and not cause world downfall, then two or three here won’t be a problem. See profit. 
    zoetmb
  • Reply 8 of 8
    hentaiboyhentaiboy Posts: 1,233member
    StrangeDays said:
    The point of annual, incremental improvements is not to convince (most) people to upgrade their devices. It’s to continually improve the product so that when you do upgrade, you have something notably better than your last phone, which is likely several years old. 
    Actually it's to maintain interest an aging phone for an extra couple of years before a full redesign.
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