Early render suggests 2019's 'iPhone XI' could have triple-lens rear camera

ByRoger Fingas

Sunday, January 06, 2019, 03:52 pm PT (06:52 pm ET)

This fall's next flagship iPhone may come equipped with a triple-lens camera on the rear, according to a render said to be based on an early development leak.

Early render suggests 2019's 'iPhone XI' could have triple-lens rear camera
Early render suggests 2019's 'iPhone XI' could have triple-lens rear camera

All of Apple's 2019 iPhones are still in the engineering validation testing (EVT) phase, and so specifications could shift, cautioned Digit.in and well-known leak source OnLeaks. The company is thought to be targeting a September launch, as usual.

No concrete reason for a triple-lens design was mentioned, but it's speculated that the feature aligns with reports Apple is pursuing a "time of flight" (TOF) system . This would allow depth maps based on the time it takes light to bounce back to a sensor, much like radar or sonar.

The front-facing TrueDepth camera on the iPhone X, XS, and XR is dependent on a vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser, or VCSEL, which projects a grid of dots on a person's face. The technology is impractical for long distances though, and TOF can be more accurate.

Depth maps from rear-facing cameras could expand the possibilities for augmented reality on iPhones and make autofocus shooting faster and more precise.

Early render suggests 2019's 'iPhone XI' could have triple-lens rear camera
Early render suggests 2019's 'iPhone XI' could have triple-lens rear camera

Cosmetically the OnLeaks render is likely not representative of Apple's ultimate plans, as the company prefers streamlined looks whenever possible.