Apple first introduced ARKit a couple of years ago at its annual WWDC event. ARKit, as the name suggests, allows developers to develop apps that take advantage of the augmented reality capabilities of Apple’s iPhones. According to noted Apple Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, however, the right hardware will not be available until at least 2020.
Apple was rumoured to use Time-of-Flight 3D sensors on the rear of its 2019 iPhones. These sensors essentially fire off a laser and measure the time it takes for the light to bounce off a surface. This will give depth data which will help in mapping out an environment. The Face ID sensor on the iPhone X uses an entirely different approach, where the sensors bathe your face in Infra-red laser light and measure the distortion of each laser to map the face.
The dual rear cameras on the back of Apple’s iPhones are already capable of capturing the necessary depth data for photos and some basic AR functionality, but the ToF sensors will be required for enabling a more precise AR experience.
According to MacRumours, who saw a note by Kuo to investors, Apple will delay the rollout of its full AR experience for when all the necessary technical elements are in place.
At a minimum, this would require ToF sensors with adequate range, 5G connectivity for AR glasses and also a “more powerful Apple Map database”.
In other news, Apple’s Special Event, where we’re expecting to see a trio of new iPhones and new Watches, will begin at 10.30 pm today. Tune into our live blog for more updates.