Apple supplier Largan to ship 3D lenses soon, likely for iPhone 8

Taiwanese vendor Largan Precision, which supplies lenses for the dual-camera iPhone 7 Plus, recently confirmed it would start shipping facial recognition 3D sensors in the second half of this year, in time for iPhone 8.

The company is currently in the process of expanding production capacities. They’ll be hiring a cool 4,500 workers for its new production facility, or nearly double its current workforce. Apple’s OLED-based iPhone 8 is said to use 3D sensors to capture a user’s face and iris, even in low-light conditions.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that a next-generation FaceTime camera on iPhone 8 would augment standard RGB sensors with infrared transmitting/receiving modules and include a bespoke 1.4-megapixel sensor capable of detecting changes in light signals.

The next-generation camera would apparently use lasers invisible to the human eye for advanced features such as 3D selfies, accurate depth mapping, 3D modeling and more.

iPhone 8’s image sensors should be built by Sony, like before.

Largan CEO Adam Lin said in a press conference this week after the company’s annual general meeting, as reported by Nikkei, that they will have lenses for a 3D-sensing module “used in a smartphone ready to ship in the second half this year”.

No phone vendor has officially announced a device with 3D lenses, leaving only iPhone 8 as the most likely phone with 3D lenses that’ll be ready to ship in the second half of 2017.

Jeff Pu, an analyst at Yuanta Investment Consulting, estimates that Largan will supply 90 percent of rear-camera lenses for 2017 iPhones, around half of the 3D-sensing lenses and up to one-third of the front camera lenses. Foxconn-controlled Genius Electronics Optical and Japan’s Kantatsu are said to compete for the rest of the iPhone 8 orders.

Image: iPhone 7 Plus dual-camera system with Largan-made lenses.