3D photography on your iPhone? Apple’s future Ultra model could make it happen

3D photography on your iPhone? Apple’s future Ultra model could make it happen
In the coming year, Apple's Vision Pro is poised to make a splash in the market, potentially reshaping our perception of virtual reality. Featuring a cutting-edge 3D camera for snapping spatial photos and videos, the Vision Pro promises to bring us closer to the futuristic worlds seen in sci-fi movies. What's more, if the latest rumor is to be believed, the Vision Pro might not be the only Apple device dabbling in the world of 3D capture.

A recent leak, uncovered by MacRumors, hints at Apple's potential development of an iPhone Ultra featuring a 3D camera. This future iPhone Ultra could have the capability to capture spatial photos and videos designed for viewing on Apple's Vision Pro headset. The rumor goes as far as to suggest that this innovation will “lead the market to rethink what kind of photos and videos a mobile phone should take.

However, don't hold your breath just yet – if this pans out, we'll likely have to wait a long time for this iPhone Ultra model. As for the exact release date, well, that's still up in the air, especially considering it's all based on a single leak. We'll have to wait and see, possibly in 2024 or beyond. One thing we can be quite sure of is that if the rumor becomes a reality, you'd definitely need a Vision Pro headset to enjoy those spatial photos and videos.

Let's dive into the topic of spatial photography for a moment

Spatial photography, often referred to as 3D photography, is a technique that captures images in a way that conveys depth and a three-dimensional sense of space. It typically involves taking multiple photos from slightly different angles or using specialized cameras to create a stereoscopic effect. It's commonly used in virtual and augmented reality and 3D modeling.

At this year's WWDC 2023, Apple dropped the idea of spatial photos and videos, which will let people relive cherished moments as if they are there again (Black Mirror, much?). With the Apple Vision Pro headset, you can rewatch those moments and even capture new ones.

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The Apple Vision Pro headset is loaded with sensors on the outside. Some of these sensors keep track of how far away things are in front of you (depth maps), and others are cameras that capture what you see. Now, when it comes to spatial photos and videos, they rely on having multiple cameras spaced apart just right. This setup helps create that 3D effect and depth perception in the images and videos you capture.

To make spatial photography happen on a future iPhone Ultra, Apple would have to stick an extra sensor on the back. This extra sensor has to be the right distance (or similar to the distance between your eyes) from the other cameras to give that 3D effect. But here's the catch: doing this on a smartphone isn't a walk in the park. So, while spatial photos and videos sound cool, we're not sure if it's doable on a phone just yet.

And let’s keep in mind that the iPhone Ultra is still just a rumor. It might be the fanciest option for the iPhone 16 lineup next year, but there's no official word that Apple is actually working on it. So, it's a bit of a mystery right now.

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