The three modules include an existing front camera module of current iPhones, an infrared transmitting module, and an infrared receiving module. Using these advancements, the camera will be able to find the location and depth of objects placed in front of it, with potential applications including facial and iris recognition.
The camera will function by merging the depth information captured by the IR transmitting and receiving modules with the traditional 2D images captured by the front camera. This not only could be used for the iPhone 8’s long-rumored iris recognition feature, but even in some gaming applications — and future AR/VR experiences — where users could place their own 3D-scanned face in the game using a quick selfie.
Today’s news of an overhaul to the front-facing camera of the iPhone 8 follows speculation surrounding the potential of Apple dropping Touch ID and instead focusing on either 3D facial recognition or iris scanning as the device’s main security feature. JPMorgan analyst Rod Hall has stated that facial recognition could be a more secure alternative, and help increase Apple Pay adoption with retailers and financial institutions.
According to Kuo, this three-module front-facing camera system “will bring an innovative user experience” to the OLED iPhone 8, but for now it’ll be reserved as exclusive to that model. “Future iPhones may come with a similar system for the rear camera,” the analyst noted.