Apple’s next iPhone could include a front camera that measures 3D space, or at least that’s the claim from KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, a fairly reliable source for Apple rumors. By sensing depth, the iPhone 8 camera could offer face recognition as a security feature, and could open up some novel uses for apps, such as transplanting the user’s face onto a game character. PrimeSense, a 3D scanning firm that Apple acquired in late 2013, would reportedly supply the algorithms, and Lumentum would provide infrared sensing, as Fast Company has reported previously.
3D-sensing cameras are hardly new, but no smartphone maker has managed to take the concept mainstream. Amazon’s Fire phone was a flop, Google’s Tango depth-sensing tech is only available on a single phone from Lenovo, and Microsoft’s Windows Hello camera login system is getting more traction on PCs than mobile devices. Apple’s rumored camera could be the company’s first journey into augmented reality, but even if it only served as a supplement for TouchID fingerprint biometrics, that alone could make security more convenient.