iPhone 12 set to rival Samsung Galaxy Note 20 with next-gen 3D camera

iPhone 12 should bring Apple up-to-date with its competitors in the camera stakes, and Samsung should be worried

Apple iPhone 12
(Image credit: PhoneArena)

 With multiple iPhone 12s in the pipeline for a September release, there’s still so much we don’t know. We’re sure at least one of the models (if not all) will be 5G-ready, with the latest chipsets and, according to rumours, the biggest redesign Apple has made to the iPhone in years

The camera, the iPhone 11 Pro’s flagship feature, is also due to get an upgrade this year, with some rumours stating the iPhone 12 will pack a huge four-camera array on the back of the phone. According to one outlet, one of these lenses will house a depth-sensing 3D camera to turn the tables on its rivals like the Samsung Galaxy Note 20. 

 A source speaking to Fast Company claims iPhone engineers have been working on a 3D camera for its “world-facing” rear array for at least two years, and it’ll be ready by the time the iPhone 12 hits shelves in the autumn. A rear-facing Time of Flight (ToF) sensor will enhance image quality and eliminate artificial blur. 

Although iPhones already have TrueDepth sensors on their front-facing selfie camera arrays, which is what allows Apple’s Face ID to work so well, this will mark the first time the technology will reach its rear. 

iPhone 11 Pro

The iPhone 11 Pro's much-lauded camera system could see an upgrade

(Image credit: Apple)

 However, that’s not the case for its rivals. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+, S20+ and S20 Ultra all have ToF depth sensors incorporated into rear camera arrays, and at least one of the Note 20 models are likely to have it too. Apple is playing catch-up here. 

Where Apple could outshine its rivals is using the depth-sensing technology to improve its augmented reality capabilities. Apple is reportedly developing a new app for iOS 14, codenamed Gobi, which uses AR to provide the user with information about the world around them. 

AR has also famously been used for games like Pokemon Go!, so perfecting its depth sensor for next-generation AR capabilities could see Apple get the edge on Samsung once again. 

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Matt Evans

Matt Evans now works for T3.com sister brand TechRadar, covering all things relating to fitness and wellness. He came to T3.com as staff writer before moving on, and was previously on Men's Health, and slightly counterintuitively, a website devoted to the consumption of Scotch whiskey. In his free time, he could often be found with his nose in a book until he discovered the Kindle.