iPhone 12 Advances VR – AR

OK, you’ve been hunkered down at home for the past five weeks, but may still have missed all the buzz about the next generation flagship iPhone (12?) Forget the talk of a smaller notch, screen integrated touch-ID, fancy aluminum new (OK iPhone 4-like) outer case, or 5G radio implementation.

What is the “hot ticket” AND the “next thing” in smartphone devices? It may just be a new focus on enhanced (eye popping) Virtual / Augmented Reality (VR / AR) technology, that has the potential to hit the level of “OMG how did I get along without this feature?” (remember when phones didn’t even have camera’s, …or texting, …or stand-alone applications like GPS maps?). Advanced VR AR capabilities, when combined with existing feature sets, have the potential to drive new iPhone 12 upgrades through the stratosphere.

On at least two of the flagship smartphones, the iPhone 12 Pro (6.1-inch) and 12 Pro Max (6.7-inch), Apple is rumored to have included ToF (short for time of flight) imaging camera systemused to enable advanced LIDAR (short for light-detection and ranging).

Beyond just better camera functionality, AR and VR are at the cusp (I know you’ve heard this before…) of moving into the mainstream. From on-campus (inside navigation) to enhanced retail shopping experiences, (no more looking for a Home Depot guy) AR is going to change everything. Not convinced? To help relieve any doubt about the coming AR VR application revolution, go to the recent “9 Augmented Reality trends” article. for a brief sample of what’s to come… truly inspiring.

Apple LIDAR on iPad from Twitter March 2020 Source: Sechrist

Truth be told, Android has been using 3D LIDAR sensor in phones (i.e. Galaxy S10 5G Note 10+, Galaxy S20+, and Galaxy S20 Ultra), using a laser pulsed – whole scene capture (scanner-less) technology that resolves distance between the camera for each point identified in the field. Here’s Samsung’s on-line explanation:

In the case of Live focus video, you’re now able to blur out the background in real time as you take a video… swap between foreground and background focus… Live focus video is available on both the front and rear cameras,
With quick measure, the camera acts as a 3D camera, judging width, height, area, volume, and more when you put an object in frame. Quick measure comes as a preloaded app on Galaxy S10 5G and Note10+.

The Apple approach (as demonstrated in the iPad Pro) is more accurate and has the potential for higher range. It’s a solid state technology based (MEMS or perhaps an OPA optical, phase array) scanning LiDAR system. Unlike a single scan, it sends a smaller pulse in one area then moves the light around using additional scans (again ToF to determine distance). Within nano-seconds, the remaining surroundings (every point in the environment actually) is captured with both size and focus controlled by the system.

Whether contrived, or just Apple “bungling” (yet again, year after year-really?) “mistakes” happen and detailed leaks of specific features (perhaps being floated by Apple to gauge market reaction in advance)have hit the wire and gone viral. The leak is months prior to the announcement date of its next flagship iPhone, presumably the “12” and – yes, we have it on good authority, (in the form of a Jon Prosser CAD design “tweet.)

So it’s that time again, when Apple begins leaking details about its next flagship iPhone 12 and the hot new technology this year has the potential of unleashing new apps (and yes perhaps unintended consequences) and with a powerful and accurate AR tool set that uses advanced LIDAR technology to redefine and yes, restructure, the world we live (well it’s about time…) Stephen Sechrist

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