One of the big features on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max is the inclusion of LiDAR, but the iPhone 13 is taking it a step further. Later this year Apple is expected to add the LiDAR camera sensor to all its 2021 iPhones.
This news comes from DigiTimes, whose sources have revealed Apple has plans to add LiDAR to both the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini. In other words, the whole range of next-gen iPhones is set to get the benefits of a LiDAR-centric camera.
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LiDAR first appeared on the iPad Pro 2020 before making the jump to the iPhone 12 Pro range last year. It works by firing lasers into an environment, then measuring how long it takes for them to be reflected back by objects in the room - up to a distance of five meters. That enables the iPhone 12 Pro’s camera to better measure distance, as it effectively scans an area, which has a number of camera benefits.
The most notable is improved accuracy with augmented reality-centric apps, and faster AR set-up since the device can quickly and accurately work out where everything is supposed to sit. It’s also used to improve focus accuracy and speed, especially in low-light conditions.
While they haven’t materialized, other benefits include the potential for Apple to use LiDAR to add more 3D data to photos or tie into its long-rumored AR Apple Glasses.
DigiTimes doesn’t give us much other information to go on about the iPhone 13's LiDAR. But the publication did mention that the iPhone 13 will still have FaceID, meaning the display notch is not likely to not be going away, though rumors have already suggested it’ll be smaller, which is a good start.
Naturally, LiDAR won’t be the only upgrade coming to the iPhone 13. We’ve heard reports that Apple is finally set to debut 120Hz LTPO displays on the phone, as well as camera upgrades like a "folded lens" that uses a periscope-like design to increase optical zoom capabilities. There’s also the possibility that Apple would add an in-screen fingerprint scanner, or go completely wireless by offering the fabled portless iPhone.
It’s almost guaranteed that the phone will see the debut of the A15 Bionic chipset, which should hopefully leave the A14 Bionic in the dust. We’ll no doubt hear more as we approach Apple’s Fall launch window.