Apple Will Reportedly Include a Time-of-Flight Sensor on the 2020 iPhones

Apple has yet to release its 2019 lineup of iPhones, but rumors are starting to take form surrounding next year’s round of smartphones from the Macintosh maker.

A fresh report out of reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims Apple will include a new sensor on the back of the 2020 iPhones. But unlike what you might think, that sensor will actually be a time-of-flight sensor, not a proper camera. The hardware will live alongside the presumed three-camera setup that the 2019 iPhone 11 will also feature.

With a time-of-flight sensor, you can collect much more extensive depth information to build a digital version of whatever space you’re in. Apple uses a ToF sensor as a part of Face ID to collect a more accurate map of your face. By building a larger one on the back of the iPhone, developers will be granted the opportunity to build much more extensive AR apps and 3D photo capture tools.

It isn’t clear exactly what Apple plans to do with the iPhone’s rear ToF, but I’m sure we’ll find out between now and fall of 2020.

In a separate report, Kuo also stated that each of the 2020 iPhones would come with 5G support. This goes for the eventual successors to the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. They’ll support both mmWave and sub-6GHz bands for optimal reliability in various regions across the country. The 5G tech may even be powered by Apple’s recent acquisition of Intel’s 5G modem business, but it isn’t clear if the company will have enough time with its new assets to develop its own 5G modems by next September.