We’re only about a week into the 2019 calendar year so far, and yet rumors concerning Apple’s upcoming iPhone lineup (arriving over nine months from now) are already beginning to trickle in.
While we’ve heard that Apple may adopt beneficial technologies like USB-C connectivity, its 2019 iPhone flagships are otherwise unlikely to feature any major design changes outside of their rear-facing cameras.
While basically every other detail about the handsets remain shrouded in secrecy at this time, according to a new Digit.in report published this week, Apple’s 2019 iPhone lineup has officially entered the engineering validation testing (EVT) phase of development — meaning that concept units have already been developed and deployed in a limited capacity.
Triple-Lens iPhone Camera
Apple is widely rumored to incorporate a triple-lens camera on the rear-side of (at least one) 2019 iPhone model, which is currently known as the ‘iPhone XI,’ according to an early render of the handset which leaked via today’s report (and courtesy of OnLeaks).
As you can see, OnLeaks’ renders clearly depict a rather large and “spaced-out” camera configuration, plastered asymmetrically across the rear-side of an iPhone XS-styled device, including three CMOS sensors and an LED flash.
Interestingly, while this particular design leaves a lot to be desired from an aesthetic vantage point, speculation has been swirling for a while that the company plans to incorporate a triple-lens camera on this year’s highest-end iPhone; so what we’re seeing isn’t completely out of left field. Even though it’s highly unlikely that Apple will ever employ such an ugly and space-consuming camera setup.
What’s the Point of a Trip-Lens Camera, Anyway?
While they’re only just starting to gain traction and notoriety thanks to high-end devices like the Huawei P20 Pro, triple-lens camera systems will ultimately play a big role in the future of 3D imaging, depth-mapping and augmented reality (AR) applications on mobile devices.
Apple has already been rumored to be working on a so-called “Time of Flight (TOF)” system, which would rely a triple-lens camera to render advanced 3D depth-maps “based on the time it takes light to bounce back to a sensor, much like radar or sonar.”
Among other things, a triple-lens camera module would greatly expand the capability and potential of augmented reality applications on iPhones, as well as improve camera features like autofocus, OIS and more.
Luckily, while it’s looking more likely than ever before that Apple will employ its first triple-lens camera on an iPhone this year, it’s highly unlikely the design we’re looking at here will make it to production. Of course, there are more elegant and aesthetically-pleasing triple-lens camera designs in circulation already, which Apple could employ with ease; but ultimately, only time will tell which configuration makes the cut.