In a new note published today by the reliable analyst of TF International Securities, Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple’s intention is to equip the iPhone models next year with a system of Face ID cameras updated to make the user experience even better.
Apple introduced Face ID with the iPhone X in 2017 to replace the Touch ID and, although this facial recognition technology has been added to the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR this year and also on the iPad Pro presented on October 30th Apple did not make any changes to the hardware that powers it.
In this regard, Kuo says that Apple “will increase the output power of the floodlight VCSEL to reduce interference from invisible ambient lights”. For users, this should mean less unsuccessful unlocking when using facial recognition to unlock the iPhone. The improved VCSEL, however, has higher design and manufacturing requirements and longer test times. That’s why this upgrade will come only next year
Kuo’s note also suggests that a Time of Flight (ToF) 3D camera will be introduced in iPad models between the end of 2019 and early 2020. The flight time camera (ToF) is a tool that allows estimating in real time the distance between the camera and the objects, measuring the time it takes for a light pulse to travel the camera-object-camera journey, the flight time in fact.
According to Kuo, a 3D ToF camera would allow the capture of 3D models via iPad, models that could then be modified with Apple Pencil for “a completely new productivity experience for design applications that would be totally different from those used on computers”.
On the iPhone, any ToF support would allow new AR experiences and better photo quality but the analyst believes that Apple is not yet ready to implement this type of camera system in the iPhone because it would not create the “revolutionary AR experience” to which instead the company aspires. To do so, Apple would need 5G connectivity, augmented reality viewer – which we have already discussed in the past few months and which should see the light in 2020 – and a more powerful Apple Maps database.
However, if Kuo is right, the updated Face ID system will be added to all new iPhones – two OLED models and an LCD model – expected in 2019. Other new features expected could include an A13 processor, three rear cameras and a design reduced by Notch which, perhaps, is destined to disappear completely.