2020 iPad Pro Said to Feature 3D Sensing Rear Cameras [Updated]

Update - Sep 2: The Elec has again reported that Apple plans to release an iPad Pro with 3D sensing camera technology early next year:

US-based Apple also plans to adopt the ToF module for the first time in its tablet, the iPad Pro, early next year. The ToF function will be available for the iPhones beginning in the latter half of next year.

Update - Aug 27: In an email to MacRumors, a representative for Derkwoo Electronics claimed that The Elec's report contained "wrong information" and "something that is not true about us." The Elec has since deleted its article. Original story follows.


Apple plans to release a new ‌iPad Pro‌ with 3D sensing rear cameras in March 2020, according to Korean website The Elec.

iPad 3cam
The report, citing unnamed industry sources, claims that Korean contract manufacturer Derkwoo Electronics will provide some of the components for the 3D sensing camera modules, including stiffeners and brackets. Mass production of those parts will supposedly begin towards the end of 2019.

The rear 3D sensing is said to be powered by time-of-flight technology, which measures the time that it takes for a laser or LED to bounce off of objects in a room, providing an accurate 3D map of the surroundings.

While the iPhone is expected to adopt a similar time-of-flight system next year, the report suggests that the ‌iPad Pro‌ will adopt the technology six months before the iPhone. Specifically, the new ‌iPad Pro‌ models would be released in March 2020, while new iPhones would likely follow in September.

This lines up with a January 2019 report from Bloomberg that claimed a laser-powered 3D camera could debut first on an ‌iPad Pro‌ as early as spring 2020, but Bloomberg more recently reported that Apple plans to refresh the iPad Pro line by the end of 2019, so Apple's roadmap is not entirely clear.

TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has also said there is an over 50 percent probability that the ‌iPad Pro‌ adopts time-of-flight technology in the fourth quarter of 2019 or first quarter of 2020.

Apple would be breaking precedent by refreshing the ‌iPad Pro‌ in March 2020, as the tablet has gone roughly 18 months between hardware updates since first launching in November 2015 — the second-generation 12.9-inch model was released in June 2017, followed by third-generation models in November 2018.

It's also worth considering that the iPad rarely receives new features before the ‌iPhone‌, with exceptions including LTE on the ‌iPad‌ 3 before the ‌iPhone‌ 5 in 2012, and the ‌iPad‌ receiving A4 and A5 chips before the ‌iPhone‌.

Given that Bloomberg and Japanese blog Mac Otakara expect an ‌iPad Pro‌ refresh by the end of 2019, it is possible the March 2020 timeframe is inaccurate and that next year's ‌iPad Pro‌ models launch in the fall instead, which would better space out the 2019 and 2020 refreshes and allow rear 3D sensing to debut on the ‌iPhone‌.

3D sensing rear cameras coming to both the ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌ is not much of a surprise as Apple pushes further into augmented reality.

As additional reports surface, the ‌iPad Pro‌'s roadmap should become clearer.

Updated at 9:45 a.m. Pacific Time with additional details from Bloomberg and analyst ‌Ming-Chi Kuo‌.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Related Forum: iPad

Top Rated Comments

ejpeg Avatar
61 months ago
I would buy an iPad without camera. Never use it on mine.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ApplePhy Avatar
61 months ago
I would buy an iPad without camera. Never use it on mine.
Camera is not only used for taking photos, but is very useful in the pro devices for ‘scanning’ documents (by taking pictures of them), converting them into PDFs, and using  pencil to edit/sign
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Stevie jobz 2.0 Avatar
61 months ago
Anyone seen using an iPad to take a photo, when they have a more than capable camera phone in their pocket should be shot on sight!!!!
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bpeeps Avatar
61 months ago
I would buy an iPad without camera. Never use it on mine.
I only use it to take photos of my iPhone when it's time to sell it every 2 to 3 years. Other than that, it is never used.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
61 months ago
I like it better when Apple releases new iPad Pros right after the iPhone. At least the Spring is better than the Summer. Nothing like buying an expensive new iPad Pro only to have the new iPhone that comes out two months later either match or beat it in performance because it uses a newer generation processor.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jackietreeh0rn Avatar
61 months ago
Here come the $2000 iPads.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

iOS 18 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Friday April 12, 2024 11:11 am PDT by
iOS 18 is expected to be the "biggest" update in the iPhone's history. Below, we recap rumored features and changes for the iPhone. iOS 18 is rumored to include new generative AI features for Siri and many apps, and Apple plans to add RCS support to the Messages app for an improved texting experience between iPhones and Android devices. The update is also expected to introduce a more...
iOS NES Emulator Bimmy Feature

NES Emulator for iPhone and iPad Now Available on App Store [Removed]

Tuesday April 16, 2024 11:33 am PDT by
The first approved Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) emulator for the iPhone and iPad was made available on the App Store today following Apple's rule change. The emulator is called Bimmy, and it was developed by Tom Salvo. On the App Store, Bimmy is described as a tool for testing and playing public domain/"homebrew" games created for the NES, but the app allows you to load ROMs for any...
iGBA Feature

Apple Removes Game Boy Emulator iGBA From App Store Due to Spam and Copyright Violations

Sunday April 14, 2024 9:22 pm PDT by
Apple today said it removed Game Boy emulator iGBA from the App Store for violating the company's App Review Guidelines related to spam (section 4.3) and copyright (section 5.2), but it did not provide any specific details. iGBA was a copycat version of developer Riley Testut's open-source GBA4iOS app. The emulator rose to the top of the App Store charts following its release this weekend,...
Delta Feature

Delta Game Emulator Now Available From App Store on iPhone

Wednesday April 17, 2024 9:58 am PDT by
Game emulator apps have come and gone since Apple announced App Store support for them on April 5, but now popular game emulator Delta from developer Riley Testut is available for download. Testut is known as the developer behind GBA4iOS, an open-source emulator that was available for a brief time more than a decade ago. GBA4iOS led to Delta, an emulator that has been available outside of...
iGBA Feature

Game Boy Emulator for iPhone Now Available in App Store Following Rule Change [Removed]

Sunday April 14, 2024 8:06 am PDT by
A week after Apple updated its App Review Guidelines to permit retro game console emulators, a Game Boy emulator for the iPhone called iGBA has appeared in the App Store worldwide. The emulator is already one of the top free apps on the App Store charts. It was not entirely clear if Apple would allow emulators to work with all and any games, but iGBA is able to load any Game Boy ROMs that...
iPhone 15 Pro Action Button Translate

All iPhone 16 Models to Feature Action Button, But Usefulness Debated

Tuesday April 16, 2024 6:54 am PDT by
Last September, Apple's iPhone 15 Pro models debuted with a new customizable Action button, offering faster access to a handful of functions, as well as the ability to assign Shortcuts. Apple is poised to include the feature on all upcoming iPhone 16 models, so we asked iPhone 15 Pro users what their experience has been with the additional button so far. The Action button replaces the switch ...