We're already seeing phones upping the ante by building rear cameras from three lenses instead of the usual two, but that's not an innovation Apple is going to rush to follow, according to reports – it's going to wait until the 2019 iPhone line-up to install three lenses on the back of its own devices.
That's according to a research note from Deutsche Securities analyst Jialin Lu, via the Taiwanese Economic Daily News, via MacRumors. It's all going to serve the iPhone's 3D depth-sensing and augmented reality capabilities, something we know Apple has a fondness for.
Two of the sensors will capture an object from different angle, Lu says, with the differences between the two snaps used to calculate distances and apply whatever AR trickery was required. There have also been rumors that Apple is investigating a laser-based system to achieve the same effect.
Two lenses good, three lenses better
The prediction matches something we heard only last month about the iPhone 12 (or whatever Apple ends up calling it). However, this new whisper of a triple-lens camera has a bit more detail in it – this just might end up being one of those rumors that run and run.
With several months to go before the 2018 iPhones arrive, it might seem a little early to be talking about the ones launching in September of next year... but Apple will certainly have its plans laid out. The extended time frame here does mean that the company might decide to change course and stick with a dual-lens snapper after all.
We've also heard that the iPhone might support the Apple Pencil in 2019, so if the rumors around the iPhone XI aren't enough to satisfy you, there's always next year to look forward to. We'll see if Apple drops any clues at WWDC 2018 at the start of next month.
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Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.