iPhone 12 Pro to feature 3D camera but not iPhone 12, iOS 14 code suggests

iPhone 12 Pro to feature 3D camera but not iPhone 12, iOS 14 suggests
Smartphone camera systems are becoming more complex with each new generation and now that rule also applies to iPhones. After introducing a triple-camera setup on the iPhone 11 Pro, Apple is reportedly preparing a fourth sensor for the iPhone 12 Pro series.

A Time-of-Flight sensor is coming to the iPhone 12 Pro

Early iOS 14 code seen by 9To5Mac includes several references to new iPhone models known as “d5x” internally. The current-gen iPhone 11 lineup was known as “d4x” during the development phase, suggesting these new devices could very likely be the iPhone 12 series. 

Little is known about the smartphones at this stage but two of the models are listed with a built-in Time-of-Flight sensor that incorporates an infrared projector. That will ensure depth information is as accurate as possible.

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A Time-of-Flight sensor has been previously rumored for the iPhone 12 Pro, which leads 9To5Mac to believe that the models referenced in the iOS 14 code are the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. 

An official preview of the new 3D sensing system is expected later this month on the 2020 iPad Pro duo. Early reports point towards it being more powerful than Face ID and key to Apple’s long-term augmented reality (AR) ambitions.

The plans for 2020 reportedly include a dedicated AR app for iOS 14 that will allow users to get more information about the world around them. The implementation also looks set to improve the accuracy of the Measure app, meaning distance and measurement calculations will be more precise. 

64MP sensors and Night Mode for all cameras

The Time-of-Flight sensor will, of course, accompany an upgraded triple-camera system. Apple hasn’t yet finalized details but early reports suggest the company is looking into using 64-megapixel sensors on the iPhone 12 series.

That would improve low-light photography thanks to pixel binning technology and hopefully improve the zooming experience by combining cropping with the typical telephoto zoom lens, which could also support Night Mode this time around.

Apple is working to bring Night Mode to the selfie camera and rear ultra-wide-angle shooter too, although it has apparently encountered some software issues that it’s working to resolve. An increase in aperture for the ultra-wide-angle lens to make this possible is expected. 

Completing the package should be a new macro mode that allows you to get 2.2cm closer to an object than currently possible and an improved version of Smart HDR known internally as Smart XDR.

Don't expect the notch to be removed

The iPhone notch is one of the most controversial design features ever. Regular customers that don't care much about technology don't usually care about it, but tech fans across the globe have loathed the feature every since it was introduced back in 2017.

Sooner or later Apple will remove the notch and introduce a true all-screen design. Before that happens, many reports have suggested the company will implement a revised version of the notch this year, but that is now looking extremely unlikely.

Apple is instead expected to retain the design feature for a fourth generation of smartphones and, if in-screen cameras still aren't up to scratch, Apple may even choose to keep it for a fifth year when the iPhone 13 arrives in 2021.

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