Published: Thu, July 13, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

Apple considering rear 3D laser for ARKit applications and autofocus

Apple considering rear 3D laser for ARKit applications and autofocus

With the launch of ARKit at WWDC 2017, Apple pretty much confirmed that their interest in augmented reality (AR) is more than just a passing one.

On Wednesday, a source who has information on Apple's plans for the iPhone 8 disclosed to Fast Company that the handset will feature a 3D laser system alongside its back camera module. Citing sources, the report explains the new sensor system will allow better depth detection for augmented reality apps. The report's source suggests that the new VSCEL laser system is "probably intended for the 10th anniversary iPhone", expected to arrive later this year, although that remains uncertain in light of all of the other technical hurdles that Apple is reportedly struggling with.

The new laser sensor will be vital for Apple's newly announced ARKit, which developers will use to develop AR experiences for the iPhone. On the contrary, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that the iPhone 8 will have the 3D sensors placed on the front along with the FaceTime camera for 3D selfie effects and facial recognition.

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A CNBC report claimed that iPhone 8 release could be delayed due to prolonged wait in shipments which can go up to 3 to 4 weeks.

Apple Delaying iPhone 8 Release? The system consists of a source (the VCSEL laser), a lens, detector (sensor), and a processor. "The whole thing costs about $2 per phone", the anonymous tipster said. Laser autofocus systems offer a faster and more accurate way of measuring objects in the frame compared to the more passive means used in iPhones now. Lumentum (LITE), Finisar (FNSR) and II-VI will provide the VCSEL systems to Apple. A laser and 3D-sensing system could also improve Apple's Portrait Mode implementation.

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