iPhone 8 may get a 3D-sens­ing cam­era

The next iPhone looks set to use a 3D model of your face to un­lock – but can Ap­ple make enough units?

Mac|Life - - NEWS - BY Gra­ham Bar­low & David Nield

Plus, ru­mors of livestream­ing in iOS 11.

Ahead of the pre­dicted Septem­ber an­nounce­ment, sup­ply-chain re­ports in­di­cate that pro­duc­tion of the com­po­nents for a 3D-sens­ing, front-fac­ing cam­era sys­tem in the new iPhone 8 is ramp­ing up.

3D sen­sors could be used in en­hanced se­cu­rity and aug­mented re­al­ity apps in Ap­ple’s next iPhone. The tech­nol­ogy, which in­cludes an in­frared trans­mit­ting and re­ceiv­ing mod­ule, means the iPhone 8’s front-fac­ing cam­era will be able to find the lo­ca­tion and depth of ob­jects placed in front of it.

With potential ap­pli­ca­tions in­clud­ing face and iris recog­ni­tion, the tech­nol­ogy will open up a world of ex­cit­ing new uses for the iPhone. As well as pro­vid­ing a new way to un­lock your smart­phone, the tech­nol­ogy may ben­e­fit aug­mented re­al­ity – to which Ap­ple de­voted a lengthy seg­ment of its WWDC key­note in June – by hav­ing your face ap­pear as a 3D model in apps and

games. It’s thought the 3D sen­sors will only be in­cluded in the iPhone’s for­ward-fac­ing cam­era sys­tem, how­ever, prob­a­bly for cost rea­sons.

The Korea Her­ald, usu­ally a fairly re­li­able source of in­sider info from Ap­ple’s sup­ply chain, says Ap­ple has started buy­ing and leas­ing its own man­u­fac­tur­ing equip­ment in a bid to make sure it has enough phone parts to keep up with ex­pected de­mand for the next-gen iPhone. The Her­ald says the ma­chin­ery is re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing rigid-flex printed cir­cuit boards ( bit.ly/rf­pcbs).

The move to buy the equip­ment, cost­ing tens of mil­lions of dol­lars, is ap­par­ently part of a bid to help Ap­ple’s re­main­ing sup­pli­ers deal with com­pli­cated pro­duc­tion chal­lenges and sched­ules.

This talk adds more fuel to the ru­mor that the iPhone 8 is go­ing to be de­layed, or at least avail­able in very limited quan­ti­ties when it launches this fall. Still, it sounds like a raft of bleed­ing-edge fea­tures will make it worth the wait; in ad­di­tion to face recog­ni­tion, the iPhone 8 is said to in­cor­po­rate a 5.8-inch, edge-to-edge dis­play with a fin­ger­print reader un­der it, ex­tra aug­mented re­al­ity fea­tures in the cam­era, and wire­less charg­ing.

The last of those fea­tures sounds in­creas­ingly likely given that a new charg­ing sound has been found in the iOS 11 beta.

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