Apple said to be interested in Sony 3D sensors for a rear TrueDepth camera for 2019 iPhones

Apple said to be interested in Sony 3D sensors for a rear TrueDepth camera for 2019 iPhones
A rumor dating back to last November had Apple using a less expensive technology to equip the 2019 iPhone models with a rear-facing TrueDepth Camera. Instead of the current method used on the front-facing TrueDepth Camera that uses 30,000 laser dots to map a face for Face ID, the speculation called for Apple to use "time-of-flight" technology instead. This measures the time it takes for a laser to bounce off a subject to create a 3D representation. It is cheaper to make and easier to mass produce than the current structured light system used by Apple.

Over a year later, there seems to be some truth to that rumor. According to Bloomberg, Apple has expressed some interest in 3D camera sensors that Sony started producing this past summer. These chips use the time-of-flight technology to help map images in 3D. The general manager of Sony's sensor business, Satoshi Yoshihara, says that several smartphone companies are interested in the chips, which is why the company has expanded production of the sensors. These sensors are expected to be employed on the rear-facing and front-facing 3D cameras on various smartphones next year.


As far as the iPhone is concerned, top analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International doesn't expect Apple to use the time-of-flight system any time soon. Kuo notes that the current dual camera system found on the back of premium iPhone models since the iPhone 7 Plus "can simulate and offer enough distance/depth information necessary for photo-taking; it is therefore unnecessary for the 2H19 new iPhone models to be equipped with a rear-side ToF (time-of-flight)."

FEATURED VIDEO

40 Comments

1. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

And they'll market it as their own innovation.

4. monkeyb

Posts: 409; Member since: Jan 17, 2018

Im confused here. Your comment sounds sarcastic but what you said is actually correct. My confusion is this: Any company will market it as thier own innovation. Its weird not to do so. So why is your statement sounding sarcastic when it is actually normal. Lol.

11. worldpeace

Posts: 3129; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

It's different.. They'll give gimmicky name to it, promote it in their keynote and ads, write tons of PR articles.. And average people will believe that Apple actually make it. No other manufacturers go that far.

12. TheOracle1

Posts: 2215; Member since: May 04, 2015

Well said.

13. midan

Posts: 2722; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Why wouldn't they? Isn't it just like monkeyb said, everyone does that. How you think they should do? like some others when your phone have things which no-one have ever heard because companies doesn't advertise it? yes very smart.. :D "And average people will believe that Apple actually make it." Who cares and so what? For example Average people doesn't know that lot of smartphones uses Sony cams and they think companies who phones they are using made the cam. Again who cares? Of course they market their cameras as their "own" No-one marketing like this: hey here's our new great smartphone cam which is by the way made by Sony. If Apple would use words like they invented it or that it's their innovation, that's wrong but it's not like they do that, so i don't see the problem here? "No other manufacturers go that far." yes they do, just like i said, i don't see companies martketing sony sensors in their phone ads.

14. midan

Posts: 2722; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

"No-one marketing like this: hey here's our new great smartphone cam which is by the way made by Sony." Except the ones who use LEICA because that itself is very big brand and will help in sales.

15. TheOracle1

Posts: 2215; Member since: May 04, 2015

The first of the i6 has appeared spouting his usual garbage.

19. midan

Posts: 2722; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

which part is garbage? can you prove anything wrong about what i just said?

20. Subie

Posts: 2356; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

midan is correct here IMO. All cell phone manufacturers show off and market the capabilities of their on board cameras. And none of them "market" the fact that its Sony's sensor tech inside...

21. TheOracle1

Posts: 2215; Member since: May 04, 2015

That's not the point. Wtf is a "Liquid Retina" display for example? It's a mediocre mid-range screen. They slap names on stuff that no one even bothers with and then hype it like they've reinvented each feature.

22. Subie

Posts: 2356; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

LG - Full Vision Nokia - ClearBlack/PureDisplay Samsung - Super Amoled/Infinity display etc. etc. Most OEM's slap names on stuff and then market them as something great. Just because a screen may be "mediocre" in your eyes does not mean a company shouldn't market the positives about it. The same goes for camera tech.

23. TheOracle1

Posts: 2215; Member since: May 04, 2015

You do have a point but I take those names to describe the screens. Bezel-less, super/clear black for amoled etc. Please tell me what "Liquid Retina" is when it's a cheap HD ~720p screen? There's marketing bs and then there's Apple marketing bs.

24. Subie

Posts: 2356; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Here you go:https://www.dignited.com/35077/iphone-lcd-liquid-retina-display/ If resolution is all you care about then yes, it's a "cheap" screen. IMO it's not a cheap lcd screen. Is Apple trying to over sell it? maybe, but that opinion changes depending on the personal biases of the recipient...

25. midan

Posts: 2722; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Liquid retina vs full vision, I don't see any difference? Xperia XZ2 has dynamic vibration system, Motion eye. Examples about this are endless, of course companies branding their features to make it sound more interesting than what others have. So again what part of my comment was garbage?

26. TheOracle1

Posts: 2215; Member since: May 04, 2015

Since it's probable that LG make the XR screen the comparison is apt. Full Vision is more descriptive to me. Liquid Retina is Apple gobbledygook that sort of fits in with what iPhone owners like to hear. As an aside and to answer Subie, I read that article and it really doesn't describe anything that others don't have already, especially given that the screen came from either Samsung or LG. So I googled "who makes the iphone XR screen". Virtually every article that came up was from US mainstream or fanboy sites. Nothing from dedicated impartial tech sites. I get the iPhone love fest and it was justifiable 4 or 5 years ago compared to android but it rings hollow these days. They aren't king of the hill any longer because of complacency.

27. midan

Posts: 2722; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Still dodging my guestion i see. Again all companies give selling names for their features to make it more interesting. By the way you are talking about liquid retina so clearly it's working, you know the name and you will remember it years. So clearly their branding works ;) job done

39. TheOracle1

Posts: 2215; Member since: May 04, 2015

I've addressed your question using the term "Apple gobbledygook" and saying the other terms are more descriptive rather than a "nice" sounding name. If my favorite brand used a term like that I'd be embarrassed. My remembering it is not from a positive perspective. It just reinforces my impression of the iPhone as a housewife and teenagers phone. Apple insults the intelligence of their customers consistently.

37. Subie

Posts: 2356; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

@TheOracle1, I will agree with you that Apple is no longer king of the hill. That's my own personal opinion though based on how I see value for the dollar. And while I am critical of Apple on certain things I just don't see any issue here with regards to them marketing the camera capabilities of their iPhones or using marketing terms for their screens. My latter point goes for all OEMs too. Cheers.

40. TheOracle1

Posts: 2215; Member since: May 04, 2015

Fair enough. See my response to one of the i6 in post 39 above.

16. koioz

Posts: 132; Member since: Nov 29, 2018

A word of wisdom from a pretender.

30. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Just like when some advertising Carl Zeiss lens. Damn boy!!!! You on a roll. See this is how you suppose to post. But see its funny, because if TechieXP had said exactly what you said, you'd swear he was a hater. Hahaha. Anyway...where is he these days. I miss his banter.

29. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Wow. I actually agree 100% with you for the 2nd time ever. Maybe there is hope for you after all.

2. umaru-chan

Posts: 354; Member since: Apr 27, 2017

Sony's sensor is better than Samsung. #fact.

3. Vokilam

Posts: 1181; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

May be true or not, the only thing that makes any difference anymore is post processing software. iPhone best at some situations, Samsung at others, and pixel at night (which the others fail if compared). I’m just happy to get nice pics of my kids and those kodak moments. Real photography still belongs to real cameras.

5. monkeyb

Posts: 409; Member since: Jan 17, 2018

Why bring Samsung into this discussion? Why cant we compare it with Leica that Huawei uses? I dont know much about sensors but Huawei phones images look awesome than iPhones using whatever sensors.

6. Vokilam

Posts: 1181; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

Monkey b - I only talk from experience. I have not seen a highway phone in the wild not any real life samples. I think Leica is a great brand for cameras - no argument about that. But as Carl zeiss lenses they can’t do much once you take away a “real camera” sensors. Also when I talk about a camera on a phone - I always consider (somewhere in the back of my head) that people buy these devices for other more primary reasons than camera, taken that into accountability I don’t like any other androids than Samsung or pixel (which deliver the best of both ends of the spectrum; modified and vanilla - in my opinion). Highway did not grow on me yet - but I’ll consider your experience with it as an input to my decision next time I want to get a device primarily for its camera.

7. TheOracle1

Posts: 2215; Member since: May 04, 2015

You've never even seen a Huawei (Highway? Lol)? I assume you live in America and that means you've never seen a Xiaomi, Vivo or Oppo either. That's too bad.

36. Vokilam

Posts: 1181; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

Exactly! Huawei*. (I use Siri to dictate, sorry).

8. GalaxyLeads_iCrapFollows

Posts: 216; Member since: Nov 29, 2017

Apple trying to break their dependence on the tech leader in the world Samsung by sourcing far inferior components from Jap and Chink companies. What a joke.

9. TheOracle1

Posts: 2215; Member since: May 04, 2015

Jap and Chink? You're a stupid bigot.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.