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Report: iPhone 8 could pack ‘rear-facing 3D laser’ for AR features & camera improvements

As has been said many times in the past, ARKit is perhaps the clearest sign yet that Apple is going all-in when it comes to augmented reality. With the iPhone 8 set to come later this year, it makes sense that it too would feature advanced AR features. Now, Fast Company reports that the device will feature a rear-facing 3D sensor to aid with AR and other camera technology…

The report explains that Apple’s 3D laser system sensor will allow for the iPhone 8 to offer better depth detection for augmented reality. This would help the company increase the precision of ARKit applications and thus make the technology even more powerful.

In addition to the augmented reality benefits, the 3D system will make for “a more accurate type of autofocus for photography.”

Specifically, Apple is said to be using the VSCEL laser system for the 10th anniversary iPhone:

VCSEL laser systems calculate the distance the light travels from the laser to the target and back to the sensor, and generate a Time of Flight (TOF) measurement. The system consists of a source (the VCSEL laser), a lens, detector (sensor), and a processor. The whole thing costs about $2 per phone, our source says.

Essentially, the laser sends out beams of light that bounce off objects and help identify the depth of each object. For augmented reality, this means that things would become even more lifelike. Whereas for camera tech, the lens can better focus on a specific aspect of the filed of view.

This evening’s report shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise for anyone who has been following iPhone 8 rumors. The device has long been said to feature advanced augmented reality capabilities. Fast Company, however, adds a few more details and a technical explanation as to how the technology works.

Throughout the last week, there have been several reports attesting to potential delays for the iPhone 8 and it’s reportedly up in the air as to whether this 3D laser system will be ready in time for the device. Today’s report explains that it’s up to the “progress Apple engineers make in integrating the laser system into the phone” and that it could come this year or it could come next year.

Fast Company also adds this little tidbit in its report:

The new phone is expected to pack several new features that are brand new to iPhones, including wireless charging, an edge-to-edge OLED display, and–possibly–sealed buttons on the side of the phone that respond with haptic feedback and are completely waterproof.

Would an advanced AR system further entice you to buy the iPhone 8? Let us know in the comments.

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Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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