Apple is yet to announce this year's iPhone models, but we're already seeing a lot of rumours about the iPhones expected to launch in 2020. Most of these reports have been based on inputs from the supply chain and should be taken with a grain of salt. A fresh report suggests that Apple could be planning to use time-of-flight 3D sensing camera system for the rear camera setup of the next year's iPhone models.
According to a report by Digitimes, Apple is planning to use VCSEL (Vertical Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser) time-of-flight (ToF) sensors on the rear camera of 2020's iPhone models. This setup is similar to the TrueDepth camera setup that's present in current flagship iPhone models, but on the front.
Apple could be looking to add a 3D-sensing camera system at the rear. This would help create a much bigger use case for AR-based applications while enabling users to capture photos with even more details.
A previous report from well-known Apple analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, stated that Apple will introduce time-of-flight 3D rear cameras on the iPad models scheduled to launch early next year. As of now, the current flagship iPhone models use a multi-camera setup to sense depth. A ToF VCSEL 3D sensor could make things even better.
VCSEL is currently used in a number of consumer electronics products. It's a semiconductor that emits infrared light and is primarily used to enable augmented reality-based applications and range finding. If this rumour turns out to be true, Apple's 2020 iPhone models could feature some powerful rear cameras, capable of capturing accurate 3D data.
Besides this, Apple is also expected to launch four new iPhone models in 2020, including one with an LCD display, like the current iPhone XR. Next year's iPhone models are also expected to come with a variant that could have a smaller display notch, and Apple could even do away with a display notch in 2021.
All these are still speculations and it's still fairly too early to trust all of them. A lot of things could change even months before the official launch.