Fast Company is out with a new report that basically reiterates what Barclays and KGI Securities said before: that Apple’s OLED iPhone will actually feature two 3D sensors, one on the front and the other out the back. In addition, the device could feature completely waterproof buttons on its side that respond with haptic feedback.

According to the publication’s sources, the rear 3D sensor will help iPhone 8 provide improved camera autofocus and enhanced augmented reality features, likely stemming from even more accurate object tracking and better depth detection in ARKit-powered apps.

Like the front-facing 3D sensor, the rear one is said to use a vertical-cavity surface-emitting (VSCEL) laser system that also includes a lens, a detector sensor and a dedicated chip. The VCSEL system would map objects in 3D by calculating the distance the light travels from the laser to the target and back to the sensor, using so-called time-of-flight measurement.

Suppliers Lumentum, Finisar and II-VI will reportedly be providing the VCSEL lasers for the device. STMicro, Infineon or AMS should provide the time-of-flight sensor. Apple could buy the whole modular system from either LG Innotek, STMicro, AMS or Foxconn, added the source.

The system costs about $2 per phone, as per the publication.

The laser-based sensor will also enable a faster and more accurate autofocus than the phase detection autofocus used on current iPhones. That’s because the dedicated rear 3D sensor will determine precise object depth by measuring the time it takes the laser light beams to bounce off objects and return to the sensor.

This will let iPhone 8 focus the camera lens on the desired object in milliseconds. Laser autofocus systems are already used in phones from Google, Huawei, OnePlus and Asus.

  • nonchalont

    Apple needs to do the Tesla move and make this iPhone cheaper to capture the cellphone market. That would flip the industry. Cheap phone cost with great features.

    • Benedict

      Laser focus, dual lenses, dual autofocus, IP68, notification LED, OLED, haptic feedback, dual SIM, NFC, wireless charging, softkeys… all introduced years ago for less money on Android.

    • Rowan09

      That would be stupid. Why would Apple give up profits and get sued from shareholders by making the iPhone cheap? We need to understand that Apple is also in the retail business. When you have a problem you walk into a store for help and that’s not free. When people try to compare cheap Android devices, they don’t factor in customer service and convenience.