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2019 iPhone flagship could feature Sony 3D TOF rear camera sensors

Sony's new 3D TOF sensor will find a home in the 2019 iPhones. (Source: Bloomberg)
Sony's new 3D TOF sensor will find a home in the 2019 iPhones. (Source: Bloomberg)
With already half the smartphone camera market cornered, Sony has unveiled what it thinks will continue to drive OEM interest in its camera sensor technology. It’s new 3D-capable rear camera sensor features the same type of Time of Flight technology found in the front-facing Face ID camera in Apple iPhones with Face ID and it has got Apple interested, reports Bloomberg.

While Sony continues to have trouble making a dent in the global smartphone market, it controls over 50 percent of the smartphone camera sensor market. Keen to maintain its momentum, the Japanese tech giant has developed a new 3D rear camera sensor that uses Time of Flight technology. This is the same type of technology that Apple deployed in its front-facing Face ID camera sensor on the iPhone X and subsequent models to ensure depth mapping accuracy for facial recognition purposes.

The new Sony 3D sensor would integrate nicely into the multi rear camera arrays that have become a hallmark of flagship devices over the course of 2018. With the trend set to continue into the foreseeable future, the addition of a 3D TOF rear camera sensor makes a lot of sense given the additional capabilities that it would deliver. These include creating even more sophisticated augmented reality experiences as well as providing more accurate depth sensing information that could enhance, for example, the popular bokeh effect, a feature of high-end smartphone portrait modes.

Unsurprisingly, with those types of capabilities Bloomberg reports that the new Sony sensor will find its way into Apple’s 2019 flagship iPhones. Apple has been pushing both AR and portrait mode on its iPhones as marquee features, so the new Sony sensor is a natural fit for the Cupertino company. Sony also says that there are several other OEMs keen to integrate the new sensor into their devices as well, although it didn’t name them. We are certainly looking forward to seeing the results of the new sensor when it hits flagship devices over the coming months.

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Sanjiv Sathiah, 2018-12-28 (Update: 2018-12-28)
Sanjiv Sathiah
Sanjiv Sathiah - News Editor
I have been tech-obsessed from the time my father introduced me to my first computer, an Apple ][. Since then, I have been particularly interested in all things Apple, but also enjoy exploring and experimenting with any computing platform that I can get my hands on – I am the definitive early adopter! I have always been interested in how we can use technology to shape and improve our lives, most recently using it to record, mix and master my debut record, Acuity – Nature | Nurture.