Apple's 2020 iPhone 12 series will adopt rear Time-of-Flight cameras: Kuo

The 2019 iPhones aren’t even official yet but that isn’t stopping analysts from talking about next year’s lineup. Among these is Ming-Chi Kuo, who believes certain 2020 models will introduce a new rear sensor to the rear.

Time-of-Flight cameras for an improved AR experience 


In an investor note published recently, the renowned analyst revealed Apple has plans to add rear Time-of-Flight sensors to next year’s iPhone models. But unlike 5G which will reportedly be made available on all three devices, the new 3D-sensing system is expected to land only on the company’s most premium offerings – the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max.

According to previous rumors from Bloomberg, Apple will be using VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser) on its 2020 iPhone lineup. These are similar to the TrueDepth camera system current iPhones include but can ultimately map out much larger areas. For comparison, Face ID currently works at distances ranging from 25 to 50 centimeters while the rear Time-of-Flight cameras expected on next year’s devices should be able to scan objects that are 15 feet (4.6 meters) away.

Buyers of 2020 iPhone flagships should notice an instant improvement to portrait photos because the added depth data should help make Apple’s background blur more accurate and also much more natural. The biggest benefit, however, is expected to arrive in the form of a “revolutionary AR experience.” Details about this are yet to be revealed but the Cupertino giant is expected to focus heavily on Augmented Reality next year. The company has already begun pushing AR content but should ultimately take things to the next level with the 2020 iPhones. This, in turn, will likely help push Apple’s AR glasses which could be announced at some point later this year or during the first half of 2020.

2020 iPhone 12 concept render by Ben Geskin and Aziz Ghaus

It’s worth pointing out that Apple’s new Time-of-Flight sensors might not debut on next year’s iPhone lineup. Instead, Kuo believes the Silicon Valley-based company could first use them on the next-gen iPad Pro lineup which should launch in early 2020.

Face ID will accompany new display sizes, more efficient chip


Circling back to the iPhone lineup, Ming-Chi Kuo also said the direct successors to this year’s iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Max, and iPhone 11R will stick with Face ID. It’s unclear if any major upgrades are planned at the moment but rumors suggest Apple will either reduce the size of its trademark notch or remove it entirely if under-display technology is up to scratch.

Accompanying the redesigned front panel is expected to be another rather drastic change. Apple currently uses 5.8-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.5-inch displays on its iPhone lineup but next year the company will reportedly switch things up with 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch displays for its most premium devices. In regards to the rear design, Apple is largely expected to stick with the new square camera module that’ll debut on this year’s iPhone 11. The only difference being that the fourth Time-of-Flight sensor mentioned above will likely be added to the layout. Also, the iPhone 12R could potentially gain access to the super-wide-angle camera that’ll be present on the 2019 flagships.

Completing the iPhone 12 lineup will probably be Apple’s A14 Bionic chip which should be built on the newer 5-nanometer manufacturing process. This should result in a noticeable boost to efficiency and significant performance improvements. Coupled with the chip should be new Qualcomm modems that’ll replace the current Intel equivalents and support both mmWave and sub-6GHz bands for 5G networks.

On one final note, there’s a possibility next year’s iPhone series will replace the Lightning connector with a USB-C port. The switch has been rumored for years and Apple reportedly created iPhone 11 prototypes with the connector. So perhaps 2020 will be the year we finally say goodbye to Lightning.

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25 Comments

1. Atrixboyyy

Posts: 613; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

Really not a fan of this offset setup...

2. Alcyone

Posts: 533; Member since: May 10, 2018

So, I'm guessing this is how how ifans will see it. Apple = Revolutionary Android = Gimmick

5. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

what year r u living in?

22. Alcyone

Posts: 533; Member since: May 10, 2018

My calender says July 30th, 2019. To be exact. Can't say the same for the people at Cupertino.

24. sgodsell

Posts: 7514; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

So the 2020 iPhone will have the same sensor as the one found on the LG G8. It works at the same distances, and has a much higher resolution than Apples current Truedepth system found in front.

3. User123456789

Posts: 1084; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

People dont care about AR and VR on cellphones. Just let it die ...

11. TBomb

Posts: 1632; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

My guess would be that they are getting the technology ready so they can revitalize the AR/VR push stronger. what better way to prep a technology than to put it in a device that is as common as a smartphone. Practice with faces, add the occasional floor and environment feature to get people to try it out and you will soon enough have some kinks looked at and some data to be able to push a true VR/AR experience. Baby steps my child.

15. mackan84

Posts: 609; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

These ToF-cameras need software to get popular amongst consumers. All it need is a killer app to become an instant hit. Until then it’s just some fancy hardware nobody knows if they want. Back in 09-11 I knew dozens of people buying smartphones only for angry birds and Plants vs Zombies. Some of them even thought they needed iPhone to be able to get them. Software sells hardware and always will.

4. Ninetysix

Posts: 2965; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

Wait wait wait. Kuo is saying that the ToF camera is ONLY going in the rear? Pretty sure our analyst sgodsell already said that faceID is getting replaced by ToF. I'm so confused which one to believe. /s

6. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

kuo is an idiot. believe 'sell'....

7. iloveapps

Posts: 909; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

sgodsell is an apple troll

10. oldskool50 unregistered

Pot meet kettle!!!! And you're a Samsung/Everything Android troll. What is the difference dude? Are you so uneducated to the point that you don't consider what you doing trolling, but you call someone else a troll? Are you aware you are being openly hypocritical? The facts have already been present that, on the iPhone 12, that the front notch would be smaller. THIS WAS ALREADY CONFIRMED. The reason it will be smaller, is because ToF cameras have the capability to do exactly what Face ID does, but with a much smaller component. This benefits Apple because if they keep the notch it will be smaller and less intrusive. You're pissed because sgodsell has mentioned it many times, and you can't even give him credit for simply being right. You rather act like a little spoiled child. You ever heard it said? "It takes one to know one?" Think about that before you call someone a troll.

13. Ninetysix

Posts: 2965; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

Oh Techie. I know you've always been in the clueless club. Apple is only putting a ToF camera in the REAR and not replacing FaceID. Please get your facts straight. Did you even read the title of the article broski? Do you know where the faceID camera is located? Oh that right, it's in the front of the phone. "will adopt R E A R Time-of-Flight cameras"

14. joshuaswingle

Posts: 644; Member since: Apr 03, 2018

Oldskool, If ToF cameras were capable of doing exactly what Face ID does, Google would be using them on the Pixel 4. But they aren't, and there's a reason for that. If the notch gets smaller next year it'll be because Apple moves the in-ear speaker towards the very edge of the frame or because in-display tech is ready to be used. Regardless, the smaller notch isn't confirmed. It's just rumors at this point.

18. midan

Posts: 3097; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

”The facts have already been present that, on the iPhone 12, that the front notch would be smaller. THIS WAS ALREADY CONFIRMED. The reason it will be smaller, is because ToF cameras have the capability to do exactly what Face ID does, but with a much smaller component.” Then why upcoming Mate pro 30 with ToF face scanner have huge notch?

16. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Pot calling the kettle black , peaceboy

8. iloveapps

Posts: 909; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

iPhone 12 is very promising but I will still buy iPhone 11.

12. oldskool50 unregistered

Of course you will. We wouldn't expect anything else. And there is nothing wrong with that. Just like I may buy the next Samsung. There should be nothing wrong with that. if you do buy it, enjoy it for what it is. Because it is yours, and no matter what is said about it, that may not be in your favor; as long as you like it that is all that matters. The sooner you figure that out, the better. because the fact is, no matter what is said about something you like, whether good or bad; there is something equally good or bad about their products too. That is why trolling is completely stupid. Why don't you grow up and stop trolling. Enjoy our toys. They are here for us to use for what we want however we want. And everyone has their own spin on presentation. It shouldn't be about whats better, it's about what we can do with them period. The marginal differences are not significant enough, for you and others to always be having temper tantrums.

9. oldskool50 unregistered

sgodsell - Where you at man. This is your article. You already mentioned this many times to the fan-club. Now here is the words they will believe. Because they believe everything PA tells them, especially when its about Apple.

19. midan

Posts: 3097; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Yes where is he? He said many times that Apple will use ToF for face scan because the current one is so crappy. This article have zero mention about iPhone getting ToF Face ID. Only getting it for rear cam.

17. TBomb

Posts: 1632; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

I think Joshua Swingle is my favorite author on the site. Calling him JSwing until told otherwise.

20. joshuaswingle

Posts: 644; Member since: Apr 03, 2018

I'm down for that nickname hahaha

21. pogba

Posts: 113; Member since: Jun 13, 2018

JSwing it is.

23. MrMalignance

Posts: 317; Member since: Feb 17, 2013

As an Android user, I can say that I am eager to see what they do with the tof addition. I don't care that I'm not using an iPhone, I just enjoy tech in general.

25. mootu

Posts: 1537; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

The honor View 20 launched with this exact set up 6 months ago and now it's news that Apple "may" start using it 18 months later?. Kuo just says that Apple will introduce every tech on the planet in a couple of years and knows that obviously some of it will stick, his record is not that good when you view it in perspective. A lot of the twitter tipsters are far more accurate than Kuo is.

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