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Apple to upgrade Face ID and add depth-sensing distance for AR on new iPhones


The next generation of iPhones will feature a new 3D camera with a range of up to 15 feet to enable users to capture three-dimensional images for use in augmented reality, sources have revealed to Bloomberg.

As opposed to the 3D camera used by current iPhones for Face ID, Apple is expected to integrate a new laser scanner which does not use dot projection, as it does not work as well over distances. Face ID has a theoretical range of 25 to 50 centimeters (10-20 inches). The new system is meant to deliver more accurate depth perception and enable placement of virtual objects in a scene. A Bloomberg source said Apple has been in talks with Sony about testing sensors for the new camera system.

Face ID will also be upgraded with a new sensor to support device unlocking and payment authorization, according to Bloomberg.

Sources said the company plans to launch two new iPhones to replace the iPhone XS and XS Max, as well as an updated version of the iPhone XR in 2019.

There are a number of other camera and image processing features reported to also be in consideration for the new iPhones, as Apple attempts to entice users into more frequent upgrades to stem a sales slump.

Apple patents have described a number of potential future use cases for Face ID, and models coming this year have been reported to feature more powerful flood illumination to reduce false negative matches. Face ID’s security stood up better than Android facial recognition systems in a recent test with a 3D printed head.

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