The arrival of a time-of-flight (ToF) sensor to a future iPhone has been rumoured for years, but now it sounds like we can expect iPhone 12 Pro to be the first to get the feature.
According to a new report from 9to5Mac, the first-ever reference to Apple’s next-generation iPhone 12 lineup was just discovered within the leaked iOS 14 code. The blog’s source found references to an unreleased mobile device lineup referred to by the codename “d5x,” which makes perfect sense considering the iPhone 11 lineup is referred to in iOS code as “d4x.”
“We have now discovered evidence based on the iOS 14 code that corroborates the existence of new iPhones models, presumably from the iPhone 12 line-up, with the same sensor in the rear camera,” reads the report.
Beyond merely confirming the existence of the upcoming new iPhone 12 series, which isn’t much of a revelation at all, the developer also found references in the code to a new time-of-flight (ToF) sensor that will be added to the triple-lens rear camera on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. We’ve known that it was coming ever since analyst Ming-Chi Kuo leaked the info way back in December, but this is the first time the new ToF sensor has been confirmed in actual iOS code.
“The new camera setup will likely include a time-of-flight 3D sensor, a wide-angle lens, an ultra-wide lens and a telephoto lens,” the report continues. “The time-of-flight sensor will lend itself to new augmented reality features.”
Based on that knowledge we’d expect the back of the highest-end 2020 iPhones to have a ToF sensor, a wide-angle lens, an ultra-wide lens, and a telephoto lens. That will presumably make for a larger camera bump, but so be it.
It’s still unclear exactly what Apple plans to do with the new sensor on its high-end iPhone 12 Pro models, but ToF sensors gather depth data so there’s a very good chance it will involve augmented reality. A new Apple AR app is reportedly in the works, and the new ToF sensor will likely play a big role.