iPhone 12 Will Get Powerful Laser Time-of-Flight Camera (Report)

The iPhone XR. (Image credit: Future)

There's no shortage of reasons to be excited for the iPhone 12 for 2020 already, but we’ve potentially got another one, courtesy of reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

According to Kuo’s most recent note to investors (via MacRumors), two of the 2020 iPhones will have a rear time of flight (ToF) camera. Assuming there’s three versions of the iPhone next year, we could assume that the XR successor will miss out, while the standard and Max editions will be equipped with them.

The point of a ToF sensor is to judge distances more accurately. With this, smartphones can add better depth effects to photos like bokeh, or make augmented reality applications fit better into the real world. We know AR is something Apple is interested in, based on rumors of an Apple mixed reality headset coming next year.

What are these ToF sensors considered such a big deal? They use lasers, as opposed to the infrared sensors and dot projectors that occupy the front of the current iPhones for applications like Face ID. It's the difference between being able to scan objects from 15 feet away with lasers to just 50 centimeters with Face ID, according to Bloomberg.

This latest iPhone 12 prediction comes from the same investor that predicts all three versions of the iPhone will have 5G in 2020. It's based on Apple’s recent $1 billion purchase of Intel's modem business, its interest in AR and the growing reach of 5G networks.

If you want to keep up with the 5G iPhone 2020 (or iPhone 12) news and rumors, we have a Phone 5G rumor round-up that we keep updated with the latest information. Also check out our iPhone 11 hub page for the latest leaks and news, even if it's looking less and less exciting.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.