Apple said to expand this key feature to all four iPhone models next year
Something of note took place on March 25th of this year when Apple released the latest premium iPad Pro tablet. On that date, the tablet became the first Apple product to be equipped with a LiDAR sensor which was included with the rear camera module. The technology uses laser to illuminate a target and various calculations are made to determine the distance between a device and the target.
What the sensor is measuring is the time it takes for the laser light to bounce off of the target and return to the device. This is known as Time of Flight (ToF). With more precise measurements and depth maps available through LiDAR, AR capabilities are enhanced and in Portrait mode, images will have improved bokeh blurs. These are the parts of a photo in the background that are rendered out of focus in order to place the viewer's attention on the sharper image in the foreground.
Besides introducing the LiDAR sensor on the iPad Pro earlier this year, Apple put the sensor on the camera modules found on the iPhone 12 Pro models. In other words, the LiDAR sensor can be found on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max; it is not found on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini. If that is a bit confusing to you, good news might be on the way. According to Digitimes, Apple is planning on having a LiDAR sensor available on all four iPhone 13 models next year. If this report is right, even the non-pro iPhone models will have the feature next year. The report goes on to add that we could see LiDAR used on Apple devices through 2023. That's because the tech giant has signed a three-year contract with Sony to supply it with parts used in the manufacture of LiDAR sensors. The sensor would make a great tool for the long rumored Apple Glass smart glasses. The latter product will rely heavily on AR and could be launched in the 2021-2023 time frame.
Digitimes also says that we could see Android manufactures start adding LiDAR sensors to some of their handsets possibly starting in the second half of next year. Samsung was the one Android manufacturer specifically mentioned in the report although the dispatch made it clear that other companies could also be planning to include the sensor with their Android handsets.