Next Year's iPhones May Have Three Cameras - Here's Why

Updated

Another analyst believes Apple is planning a major innovation for next year's iPhones. And it's centered around the smartphone's rear camera.
Credit: Tom's GuideCredit: Tom's GuideApple is working on a triple-lens camera for at least one of the iPhones the company plans to launch in 2019, Economic Daily News is reporting, citing a research note from Deutsche Securities analyst Jialin Lu.

The camera's design would allow it to offer advanced 3D sensing and use stereoscopic vision. Two of the sensors would snap photos that would be taken at different angles. MacRumors earlier reported on the feature.

Perhaps more importantly to Apple, the triple-lens camera could enhance the iPhone's augmented reality features. Apple has been clear that it believes augmented reality is a critical technology going forward. CEO Tim Cook has also suggested that with the right slate of features, augmented reality could become much bigger and far more important than virtual reality.

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By using 3D sensing and more specifically, the TrueDepth technology that Apple currently uses for Face ID on the iPhone X, the company believes it can enhance augmented reality features. It was earlier reported the technology could allow for Apple to create a 3D map of an environment with the rear camera and create an augmented reality experience.

In addition to 3D sensing, the rear camera would greatly enhance zoom capabilities, according to the report. The third lens could come with a 3x optical zoom, making it the best zoom ever offered in an iPhone. Current iPhones, including the iPhone X, have a 2x optical zoom.

Huawei's P20 Pro sports three rear lenses, allowing it to offer a 3x optical zoom. Huawei also uses its camera setup to take better pictures in low-light settings. That phone isn't available in the U.S., however.

This isn't the first time reports have suggested that a triple-lens iPhone is on Apple's agenda. Economic Daily News also reported that the feature was in development back in April.

Of course, the notoriously secretive Apple isn't even discussing this year's iPhones, let alone what it has planned for 2019. But in addition to the possibility of a triple-lens camera, a new report from Bloomberg over the weekend said that the 2019 iPhones might all come with OLED screens. That stands in stark contrast to last year's slate of iPhones, which only included one model with an OLED display.

Apple has apparently not decided how many iPhone models should feature triple-lens cameras. For now, the analyst would only say that at least one model would come with the feature.