The next flagship iPhone could feature a triple-lens camera on the back, according to a render based on an alleged early development leak.
All of Apple’s 2019 iPhones are still undergoing engineering validation testing (EVT), so specifications are subject to change, according to Digit. in and reputable leak source OnLeaks. As usual, the company is believed to be targeting a September launch.
Apple is rumored to be pursuing a “time of flight” (TOF) system, and a triple-lens design has been speculated to be in line with these rumors. This would enable the creation of depth maps based on the time it takes light to return to a sensor, similar to radar or sonar.
The TrueDepth front-facing camera on the iPhone X, XS, and XR relies on a vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser, or VCSEL, which projects a grid of dots onto a person’s face. However, the technology is impractical for long distances, and TOF is more precise.
Depth maps from rear-facing cameras could expand the capabilities of augmented reality on iPhones and improve the speed and accuracy of autofocus shooting.
In terms of aesthetics, the OnLeaks render is probably not representative of Apple’s final designs, as the company prefers streamlined aesthetics whenever possible. Furthermore, it seems unlikely that Apple would sacrifice the internal volume where the third lens resides.