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iPhone’s AR ambitions – groundbreaking sensors coming next year

Trusted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo – a name long-time readers will be familiar with – has released a new report, and he seems pretty confident about one thing: Apple is serious about Augmented Reality.

To that end, Kuo expects Apple will release two iPhones in 2020 with all-new “Time of Flight” sensors. These sensors use infrared technology to effectively scan the environment by sending out laser pulses and timing how long it takes for them to hit a surface. This tech would, in theory, dramatically increase the accuracy and reliability of augmented reality experiences in iOS.

Will we see even more sensors on the back of next year’s iPhones?

The system isn’t dissimilar from the array used in Face ID to perform a 3D scan, but whereas the current TrueDepth camera only works reliably at a range of a couple feet, Time of Flight sensors are much better suited to scanning entire rooms and environments.

Apple already is leading the pack when it comes to mobile AR, and Time of Flight sensors are clearly the way forward – standalone AR systems like Microsoft’s Hololens already use similar technology, but cramming these kind of futuristic capabilities into an iPhone or iPad would be seriously impressive.

This kind of experience is already possible, but the rumored changes would make it even more accurate

Though Apple isn’t expected to make these changes until next year, chances are it will be a ground-breaking release that blows its competitors away. AR has been a mixed bag so far, with a combination of lacklustre and mind-boggling experiences on the App Store – perhaps this is what Apple needs to take things to the next level. Unless someone else does it first…