iPhone 8 May Feature Rear-Facing 3D Laser for Improved Autofocus and AR

Apple is working on a rear-facing 3D laser system that will enable better depth detection for augmented reality apps and more accurate autofocus in the iPhone 8, reports Fast Company, citing a source with knowledge of the company's plans.

The iPhone 8 is said to use a VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser) system for the rear camera, which analysts have previously speculated could be added to the device. There's also been some evidence that Apple has been sourcing VCSEL components from companies like Lumentum and Finisar, and Fast Company says Apple has tapped both companies along with II-VI for sensors.

iPhone 8 rendering via OnLeaks and TigerMobiles

VCSEL would offer faster and more accurate depth measurements for augmented reality purposes, along with speedier autofocusing when taking a photograph.

VCSEL laser systems calculate the distance the light travels from the laser to the target and back to the sensor, and generate a Time of Flight (TOF) measurement. The system consists of a source (the VCSEL laser), a lens, detector (sensor), and a processor. The whole thing costs about $2 per phone, our source says.

That Apple is working on improved augmented reality hardware for the iPhone 8 is no surprise given the focus on augmented reality and ARKit in iOS 11. New 3D camera technology was rumored for the rear-facing camera as early as November of 2016, and multiple design leaks point towards a revamped vertical dual-lens camera, suggesting a major camera revamp. The front-facing camera is also expected to include a new 3D sensor that would enable facial recognition.

According to Fast Company's source, the VCSEL system for the rear-facing camera is "probably intended" for the upcoming iPhone 8, but its inclusion "depends on the progress" Apple engineers make integrating it into the iPhone.

As we learned in a report yesterday, the source that Fast Company has spoken to believes iPhone features "can remain fluid until deep in the summer" ahead of an iPhone launch, though it seems more logical that work on the iPhone 8 is complete as we are just two months away from its prospective September introduction. Given the many rumors of a major camera redesign and previous rumors pointing towards 3D capabilities, a VCSEL laser system is a reasonable feature to expect to see in the device.

Fast Company's previous report suggested there is a "sense of panic" in the air at Apple as engineers and designers struggle to work out software problems with wireless charging and the 3D sensors meant for the device. The site also said Touch ID was "likely" to be included in the iPhone 8, despite multiple rumors suggesting it's been removed in favor of facial recognition.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
36 months ago

Last night I heard that the iPhone 8 could go for up to $1.3k.

If this phone starts out above $999.00 I'd be hoping it has ALL the bells and whistles, so more features bring them on.

How about lasers :P

Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
36 months ago
"The whole thing costs about $2 per phone"

what a time to be alive. twenty years ago, that system would be the size of an airconditioner and cost $150,000
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
36 months ago
At this point it feels like the iPhone 8 will include everything just nothing will work until iOS 11.1 is released.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
36 months ago
First time in awhile nobody knows what's really going on with next iPhone. Finally a bit of excitement.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
36 months ago
This sounds fascinating, but I hope it is not used to justify another insane price hike. Brexit is more than pinching now lol!

I'm holding out until the iPhone can be used as a light saber / bagel toaster *


*Disclaimer: I only source whole foods, pure GMO modified, jailbroken bagels
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
36 months ago
Last night I heard that the iPhone 8 could go for up to $1.3k.

If this phone starts out above $999.00 I'd be hoping it has ALL the bells and whistles, so more features bring them on.

Your gonna have to work hard for my money this time Apple!

My 7 Plus is in no hurry to go anywhere.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Acquires Weather App Dark Sky

Tuesday March 31, 2020 10:22 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has acquired weather app Dark Sky, Dark Sky's developers announced today. Dark Sky is one of the most popular weather apps on the App Store, known for its accuracy and storm warnings. Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy. There is no ...

Apple's 2020 MacBook Air vs. 2020 iPad Pro

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:45 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple in March updated both the MacBook Air and the iPad Pro, and with the iPad Pro increasingly positioned as a computer replacement, we thought we'd compare both new machines to see how they measure up and which one might be a better buy depending on user needs. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We're comparing the base model 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the base model...

Zoom Accused of Misleading Users With 'End-to-End Encryption' Claims Amid Other Security Issues [Updated]

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:47 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Zoom is facing fresh scrutiny today following a report that the videoconferencing app's encryption claims are misleading. Zoom states on its website and in its security white paper that the app supports end-to-end encryption, a term that refers to a way of protecting user content so that the company has no access to it whatsoever. However, an investigation by The Intercept reveals that...

Case for Upcoming Low-Cost iPhone Shows Up at Best Buy With Alleged April 5 Stock Date

Monday March 30, 2020 4:25 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has a new low-cost iPhone in the works, which is supposed to be launching sometime in the first half of 2020. Given the ongoing situation in the United States and other countries, it's been unclear if the device is going to launch within the planned timeline, but there are signs that it could be coming soon. We started seeing cases for the new low-cost iPhone back in early February,...

Apple Adding Some 2013 and 2014 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Models to Vintage Products List at End of April

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:24 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
In an internal memo obtained by MacRumors, Apple has indicated that the following 2013 and 2014 models of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro will be added to its vintage and obsolete products list on April 30:MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2013) MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2013) MacBook Air (11-inch, Early 2014) MacBook Air (13-inch, Early 2014) MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2014)Apple defines vintage...

AirTags Referenced in New Apple Support Video

Thursday April 2, 2020 12:12 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple has accidentally referenced its widely rumored AirTags item tracking tags in a video that it uploaded to its Apple Support channel on YouTube today. The video was first spotted by the blog Appleosophy and has quickly been removed. The video was titled "How to erase your iPhone." AirTags were mentioned in Settings > Apple ID > Find My > Find My iPhone under Enable Offline Finding, with...

Testing Brydge's New Pro+ Keyboard With Trackpad for iPad Pro

Monday March 30, 2020 2:04 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Well ahead of when Apple introduced trackpad support in iOS 13.4, Brydge announced an iPad Pro keyboard with a built-in multi-touch trackpad. We have one of Brydge's new Pro+ keyboards on hand, and thought we'd check it out to see how it works with Apple's new 2020 iPad Pro models. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The Brydge Pro+ keyboard is similar in design to...

Intel Unveils 10th-Gen Processors Suitable for Next 16-Inch MacBook Pro With Wi-Fi 6 and Turbo Boost Speeds Above 5GHz

Thursday April 2, 2020 7:53 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Intel today announced the launch of its latest 10th-generation Core processors for high-end notebooks, potentially including the next 16-inch MacBook Pro. The batch of 45W chips, part of the Comet Lake family, are built on Intel's 14nm++ architecture. The new H-series chips have the same base clock speeds as the 9th-generation chips in the current 16-inch MacBook Pro, but Turbo Boost speeds...

Apple's Work on New Upcoming Products Progressing Normally as Employees Adjust to Telecommuting

Monday March 30, 2020 11:58 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple's development of upcoming products is progressing as usual despite the fact that Apple employees around the world are working from home, according to a new report today out from Bloomberg. Apple is still working on new versions of the HomePod, Apple TV, MacBook Pro, budget iPads, Apple Watch, iPhone, and iMac, all of which could be released "as early as later this year" and have been...

2020 iPad Pro May Not Have a U1 Ultra Wideband Chip After All

Wednesday April 1, 2020 8:49 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
While it was previously reported that all 2020 iPad Pro models feature the same Apple-designed U1 chip as the iPhone 11 lineup, enabling Ultra Wideband support, we have compiled evidence to suggest that this may not be the case. As a reminder, Apple's tech specs for the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro list an Ultra Wideband chip for spatial awareness, but the chip is not mentioned in Apple's...