Apple's 2019 iPhones likely won't be announced for another eight months, but a few new leaks have given consumers an idea of what they could possibly expect — a square unit on the upper left corner of the back of the phone that houses its triple camera system.
Citing a tweet from mobile leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer, aka "onleaks" on Twitter, Forbes reported on Sunday that Apple's biggest change on its 2019 iPhone appears to be the triple rear camera setup teased in the leaked photo. As the device informally known at the present as the "iPhone XI" is still in the engineering validation test (EVT) stage, there's still a possibility Apple's design will change in the coming months. However, the leak was soon backed up by another industry insider, Twitter's Ice Universe, who noted that the device's rendering seems to be accurate.
A report from Hemmerstoffer's partner publication, Digit India, took a deeper dive into the leaked render, breaking down how each of the three cameras are arranged. Much like Apple's present-generation iPhone XS, two of the cameras are lined up vertically, while the third one is situated on the right side between the two. The square unit also includes an LED flash and microphone, respectively located on the top and on the bottom of the third camera.Digit India also cited a report from Bloomberg from late last month that suggested a number of tech companies, including Apple, are considering using Sony's Time of Flight (ToF) 3D technology for their upcoming devices. This technology creates 3D maps for nearby objects by leveraging the amount of time it takes for light to bounce off of them and, as Forbes predicted, could have "game-changing" implications in a number of areas, including gaming, augmented reality, and mobile security apps.
Based on the newly leaked renders, Digit India stressed that it's highly likely the 2019 iPhones will make use of the three-camera setup to allow ToF to work, much like Chinese manufacturer Oppo did on its recently released R17 Pro. According to the publication, the third rear camera could be used for the creation of 3D models by "[focusing] faster" on the target object, and also by measuring the amount of time it takes for a laser pulse sent toward the object to bounce back toward the sensor.
Aside from the aforementioned camera improvements, rumors suggest that Apple won't be making too many changes to the 2019 iPhones. Several design features, including the placement of the Apple logo on the back of the phone and the notch on the front, are expected to remain on the upcoming models, as it might not be until 2020 when Apple switches to "punch-hole" displays similar to the ones rumored for Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S10.