Apple is intrigued in the 3D camera digital camera created by the existing supplier Sony, what uses precise time-of-flight technology. Satoshi Yoshihara, overall manager of Sony’s camera sensor, said the company plans to start mass production of 3D chips upcoming summer to meet the needs of “several” telephone manufacturers. Satoshi Yoshihara did not disclose the names of potential customers, but he pointed out that Sony’s 3D cpu business is making a profit. It is understood that Apple is interested in adopting this tech, but it is not clear whether this information is from Sony or other anonymous sources.
Apple’s current TrueDepth camera system uses a VCSEL (Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser) to project structured light on an object. By measuring deviations and distortions in the grid, the system could generate 3D photographs for biometric authentication. Sony’s Time-of-Flight (ToF) system draws a depth map by measuring the period it takes for a light pulse to travel to and from the target surface. According to Satoshi Yoshihara, ToF technology is more correct than structured light and can perform at bigger distances.
There have been rumors about Apple’s interest in ToF solutions but today’s report is the first period that Sony has been linked to a potential production plan. In June 2017, there were reports that Apple was evaluating whether to use ToF for rear-facing cameras to help augmented reality apps. Apple analyst Guo Minghao said in September that Apple is unlikely to integrate ToF tech into the next generation of iPhones. Instead, Apple is coming to continue to rely on the dual camera system that was initially used on the iPhone 7.