As Apple and Samsung jockey for position with their flagship phones, it can sometimes seem like a race to who can roll out a new feature first. The latest example involves three rear cameras, a feature that could be coming soon to an iPhone or Galaxy device near you, if a report out of Korea proves accurate.
That report from the Korea Herald quotes Kim Dong-won, a KB Securities analyst, who says that Samsung is planning to add triple cameras and a 3D sensor to the Galaxy S10 in the works for next year. The analyst describes those features as an attempt to reinvigorate the Galaxy lineup amid reports of slow sales for this year's Galaxy S9 release.
It's what comes later in the Korea Herald report that's interesting, though. The news site notes that one of the phones Apple is planning to release this fall — reportedly a Plus-sized version of the iPhone X — "is also anticipated to come fitted with three camera lenses on the rear."
That's not actually in line with iPhone rumors we've heard up to this point. Yes, Apple is reportedly looking at adding three cameras to the back of a future phone, but most rumors suggest that won't happen until the 2019 releases.
It's possible that the Korea Herald report may have gotten its iPhone rumors mixed up. (Who can keep track these days?) But it's also not out of the question that Apple would consider adding another lens to one of the multiple iPhone models it's rumored to be working of for this fall, especially if it means getting the jump on Samsung before that its main rival can roll out a triple-lens Galaxy S10 of its own.
Three rear cameras aren't the stuff of science fiction, either, as Huawei's P20 Pro already offers the feature. When we tested that phone, we were impressed by the photos it produced, as it outperformed the iPhone X and Pixel 2 XL in a camera face-off. The P20 Pro is particularly strong at taking photos in low light, thanks to its three rear cameras. Good luck getting in the U.S., though, as Huawei's not selling the phone here.
Phone makers have other incentives to get a third lens on their flagship phones. The feature allows a 3X optical zoom, which would improve upon the 2X optical zoom that dual-rear camera phones like the iPhone X and Galaxy S9+ provide. A third lens would also help support augmented reality features, which has been a particular focus of Apple's as of late.
So the question isn't whether top phone makers like Samsung and Apple adopt this feature for their flagship devices — it's when that feature will appear. And the Korea Herald report gives us an inkling of hope that it might be sooner rather than later.