Apple already brought 3D sensing-powered facial recognition to the smartphone world by introducing the TrueDepth Camera system on the iPhone X. While the Cupertino company is expected to retain its original technology this year, the ultimate plan is likely to leverage 3D sensing to enable a multi-hovering experience as well as an enhanced list of augmented reality (AR) features. The 2019 iPhone models are speculated to come with a triple camera setup to start enabling AR features. The iPhone maker is also reportedly in plans to enhance the interface of its handsets by using optimal 3D mapping to enable air gestures - in an advanced way over how gesture controls were introduced on the Galaxy S4 back in 2013.
As per a report by ETNews, citing industry sources, Apple is set to introduce multi-hovering on the 2019 iPhone models. The experience is said to help the advanced hardware to recognise three or more fingers from a distance of 50mm. It is also reported that Apple is exploring ways to enable users to use gestures such as pinch-to-zoom even when the display of the iPhone and the finger are apart. The new experience could take the existing iOS experience to new levels.
Presently, Apple offers features such as Animoji and Memoji through the 3D sensing camera of the iPhone X. However, this is expected to expand further by offering hand gesture interfaces. The initial experience could be a part of the new iPhone versions, though it is said that the Tim Cook-led team might bring it to future Mac machines as well. Additionally, Apple could deploy the new technology on its smart glasses that are so far a part of the rumour mill. A patent application highlighting the development around 3D depth mapping camera was filed officially in December 2015.
Notably, Samsung is already offering a hovering effect on its Galaxy Note models through the S Pen integration for quite some time. The experience on Samsung phablets is, however, limited to certain features that require S Pen. This means enabling fingers to control the phone from a distance is something futuristic not just for Apple but also for the whole smartphone market that started offering display notches following the arrival of the iPhone X last year.
The 2019 iPhone models are expected to include a ToF (Time of Flight) sensor to help future iPhone models draw 3D structures and overlay information on top of real-world scenes. This AR experience is likely to be powered by the triple-camera setup that Apple could use next year. Apart from the enhanced hardware, the company is expected to bring some software-side changes to bring a large of AR features. There is already PrimeSense, the company behind the original Kinect, that is working closely with the Apple team to bring gesture controls and newer AR experiences to future iPhone devices.
If we look at some of the previous reports, Apple is all set to ditch its pressure-sensitive 3D Touch technology. That move is likely to give space to air gestures or multi-hovering controls. Having said that, we need to wait for sometime to see what exactly Apple is building for its future iPhone models that could give new references to a large number of Android manufacturers.
Meanwhile, Apple is preparing the launch of the 2018 iPhone lineup that will include three new models, including the most affordable in the series, the LCD iPhone. The launch is expected to take place sometime next month.