iPhone 13 to Have LiDAR Scanners Across Board
Apple’s forthcoming iPhone 13 will have a 1TB storage options for some of the models as well as LiDAR Scanners across the whole lineup, based on a report from Wedbush analysts. This means that Apple could in the future rely more on iPhone AR with LiDAR.
Apple’s LiDAR technology is currently in the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max. The sensor continuously throws a light grid into the room and then measures the distance at which the points fall on an object. This results in a more precise 3D measurement of the room compared to what you’d get by using a single smartphone camera. This, in turn, leads to nicer 3D scans or better AR effects, for instance.
Google already had LiDAR technology for its discontinued Tango smartphones for Android but its implementation was less sophisticated than Apple’s LiDAR scanner. In the coming weeks, Google is also planning to roll out an update for the Android smartphones with two cameras which should enable the 3D measurement of the room using a stereoscopic double camera perspective.
With the iPhone 13, Apple will be relying even more on Lidar AR.
Both Google and Apple have two fundamentally different approaches to the implementation of AR in their smartphones. Google’s approach aims to optimize the existing hardware through better software and AI technology while Apple’s approach relies on special hardware for better AR.
It is becoming apparent that Apple will stick to its hardware approach: while only the two flagship models of the iPhone 12 had the integrated LiDAR scanner, all the iPhone 13 models from now onwards will have a LiDAR scanner installed.
The news first came out as a rumor on the Taiwanese news service Digitimes in early 2021. The rumor is now being repeated by Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives, via MacRumors. Ives bases his assumption on the studies of the supply chain. Apart from the LiDAR Scanner, iPhone 13 models will now offer buyers an optional 1TB of memory.
Implementing LiDAR as the iPhone standard would demonstrate Apple’s commitment to the future of AR and a clear signal to developers. In late 2020, Apple’s AR boss Mike Rockwell said that in the context of the iPhone 12 LiDAR scanner, Apple was still optimizing the technology, lowering the barrier to entry and exploring meaningful, everyday usage scenarios. Rockwell believes that in the future, AR will be like the internet, one of the things that we wouldn’t be able to live without.