iPhone 12 Pro killer camera upgrade just confirmed

iPhone 12 Pro camera render
(Image credit: svetapple)

iPhone 12 leaks are heating up as we near the launch of Apple's next flagship lineup, and a rumored feature might have just become a real one.

A new DigiTimes report (via MacRumors) details the impact LiDAR component production and application for the iPhone 12 will have on the technology's adoption going forward. 

DigiTimes does not state with certainty a LiDAR scanner is included in the next-generation iPhone's camera array, but it said "some of" the models will get the sensor, according to industry sources. 

"The sources said Apple took the lead to adopt ToF (time of flight) LiDAR module for its iPad Pro released in the first half of 2020, and reportedly will incorporate the technology into some of its new iPhone models," said DigiTimes.

Apple's LiDAR scanner — the company's version of a Time of Flight sensor — uses a laser's photon speeds to measure distance. As seen in our iPad Pro 2020 review, the sensor is capable of recognizing depth and range when producing mixed reality imaging. 

LiDAR can position AR graphics through your lens in a way that blends them into the natural environment captured by your camera. Instead of an AR image appearing front-and-center in your screen like in Pokemon Go, the ToF sensor can position it behind a couch or other objects in realistic proportion.

iPhone 12 LiDAR scanner: Is it happening?

The DigiTimes report is good news for those interested in AR, or who saw LiDAR applied on the iPad Pro and want it on an Apple handset. However, it  also confirms that not all new iPhone 12 models will get the scanner.

It's believed that the non-Pro iPhone 12 variants will miss out on LiDAR. Instead, a LiDAR scanner will be one of the 'Pro' or premium features of the lineup's pricer options. 

In fact, last week leaker Jon Prosser shared an alleged hands-on video of the iPhone 12 Pro Max that shows off its camera capabilities, including the settings for LiDAR-assisted focusing. Prosser previously posted a iPhone 12 lineup overview assigning LiDAR to the smaller iPhone 12 Pro, too.

See more

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also expects a LiDAR scanner to be included on at least two iPhone 12 models, corroborating both Prosser and the DigiTimes report.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.