Details uncovered in a leaked version of iOS 14 suggest that only the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will ship with the rumored time-of-flight 3D camera sensor. The third non-pro model of the iPhone 12 lineup will not ship with this upgraded camera lens.
The long-rumored time-of-flight sensor will improve the augmented reality experience on the iPhone. The sensor allegedly will use infrared technology to generate a 3D map of the environment and objects in it. Augmented reality apps then could use the sensor to build a profile of the surrounding environment almost instantly.
The sensor also could aid portrait photography by improving the depth of field measurements. Instead of using a combination of lenses and an algorithm to guesstimate the depth of field, the new time-of-flight sensor could use a 3D map to generate a more accurate depth profile.
It’s not only the iPhone that may see this new camera sensor. Early rumors suggested the time-of-flight camera sensor may launch this spring on the iPad Pro. It then is expected to roll out to the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Similar to the telephoto lens in the iPhone 11 Pro, the time-of-flight sensor could be a distinguishing feature between the professional-level and consumer-centric iPhone models. The iPhone 12 Pro, the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the iPhone 12 are pegged for a launch this fall along with iOS 14.