KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, along with a few other sources, believes Apple will bet heavily on augmented reality with iPhone 8. He predicted the device’s front-facing camera will use a bespoke 3D sensor to let users take 3D selfies, map their surroundings, scan nearly any real-world object in three dimensions and more.
Analysts Andrew Gardiner, Hiral Patel, Joseph Wolf, Blayne Curtis and Mark Moskowitz reported in a Friday research note, obtained by 9to5Mac, that iPhone 8 may use a second 3D sensor out the back for augmented reality features.
Here’s an excerpt from the research note:
The key to Apple’s 3D sensing ambitions will, in our view, be two structured light cameras, one each on the front and back. This shift represents a change from our earlier assumption of a structured light camera on the front and advanced depth mapping Time-of-Flight sensor on the rear.
We now think the 3D sensing for facial recognition (front) and augmented reality (rear) will be conducted via two custom modules, with AMS/Heptagon providing significant content on the transmit side and STMicro on the receive side.
Time-of-Flight describes methods that measure the time it takes a wave to travel a distance through a medium. In the context of iPhone 8, a laser sensor could emit light waves invisible to the human eye and measure the time it takes them to bounce off of an object’s surface, using depth data to recreate an object in three dimensions.
Any sensors Apple could use in iPhone 8 are widely expected to have been developed and built using the technology from Primesense, an Israeli startup Apple acquired in November 2013 for a reported $350 million.
Earlier this week, Barron’s noted that Apple contracted a company called Himax Technologies to build 3D sensors for the OLED-based iPhone 8 models. DigiTimes added today that Lumentum will be another supplier of 3D sensors for iPhone 8.
Himax should handle the glass component design, with backend partner ChipMOS also providing assistance, while Lumentum will reportedly provide the 3D-sensing modules for the device based on vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser technology.
Earlier this week, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo identified Lumentum as one of the suppliers of 3D sensors for iPhone 8.
Earlier, Timothy Arcuri of Cowen & Company identified Lumentum and Finistar as key suppliers of laser emitters for the device, with Heptagon/AMS providing a custom infrared sensor and STM advanced CMOS sensors.