Months of rumors and speculation regarding Apple’s new batch of iPhones will be culminating on Wednesday morning at Cupertino, California, as the devices reportedly known (depending on which rumors you’ve been reading) as the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max/Plus, and iPhone Xr/Xc will be unveiled to the public for the very first time. However, rumors on the next-generation iPhone X for the 2019 model year are already heating up, as new reports suggest that the next year’s iPhones won’t come with a selling feature many consumers were looking forward to.
In a research note cited by AppleInsider, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has been known for his accurate forecasts and rumors on unreleased Apple products, wrote that Apple still won’t be ready to include a rear-side time of flight (TOF) feature in next year’s iPhone X lineup, as the company’s augmented reality technology has yet to mature to a point where it can be included in its devices.
According to Kuo, the most “comprehensive” AR ecosystem would be one that comes with 5G support, a head-mounted augmented reality wearable, and a “more powerful” database for Apple’s Maps app that has accurate readings for distance and depth. This could mean Apple Maps could be a “killer app” once the company’s AR technology is ready.
Instead of a triple-lens TrueDepth 3D camera system on the back of Apple’s iPhone X successors for 2009, Kuo believes that the company will stick to the usual dual-lens rear camera system that first debuted on the iPhone 7 Plus in 2016.
“We believe that iPhone’s dual-camera can simulate and offer enough distance/depth information necessary for photo-taking; it is therefore unnecessary for the [second half of 2019] new iPhone models to be equipped with a rear-side TOF.”
As noted by AppleInsider, the rumors of Apple including a TrueDepth 3D-style camera in its iPhones started in July 2017, about two months after the iPhone X was announced, and suggested that the company was planning to include such a system for augmented reality applications and improved autofocus speed. While Apple did include TrueDepth 3D technology in the iPhone X, this is incorporated in the device’s front camera, where it powers the Face ID recognition system on the company’s outgoing flagship phone.
According to BGR, Apple’s two flagship phones for 2018, the iPhone Xs and the iPhone Xs Max/Plus, will come with dual rear cameras, while the budget-priced iPhone Xr/Xc is expected to have only one. Among Apple’s competitors, only Chinese phone maker Huawei has debuted a phone with a triple rear camera system, though BGR added that Samsung and other Android phone manufacturers will likely follow suit in the coming months.