Next year’s iPhone could borrow a key Huawei P30 camera feature – better late than never

Apple’s 2020 iPhone could feature a custom Time of Flight (ToF) camera sensor similar to the one seen on the Huawei P30 Pro, according to a fresh ‘leak’.

The leak appeared on the, not always legit, Taiwanese site Digitimes on Wednesday. In it the company alleged that sources familiar with the matter confirmed Apple has instructed on of its supply chain partners to “supply VCSEL components for use in rear ToF camera lens in its mobile devices to be released in 2020”.

ToF sensors are a new bit of kit for smartphones. It’s a clever bit of kit that aims to help phone cameras see the world in 3D. This helps them understand depth and is a key way handsets, like the Huawei P30 Pro are able to snap great looking portrait shots with realistic looking bokeh effects – this is where the main object is in focus while the background is blurred.

Related: What is a ToF camera?

In the past we’ve found the sensor is a great addition to any smartphone camera and can see the same being true for any iPhone. But, we’d take the ‘leak’ with a hefty dose of salt. The Digitimes doesn’t have the best track record for reliability when it comes to leaks.

Even if the leak is accurate it’s way too early to speculate what Apple’s plans are for the sensors. Apple could completely change its iPhone release and naming strategy over the next 12 months so guessing which iPhone it’d appear on is close to impossible.

Related: Best iPhone 2019

We’d personally have preferred to see the sensor appear on an iPhone this year as well. The iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR have perfectly usable cameras. But it’s no secret, they fall well behind key rivals, like the Pixel 3 and Huawei P30 Pro when it comes to photographic prowess.

Which is why most industry rumblings suggest Apple is working hard to completely redesign its the hotly anticipated iPhone 11’s rear camera. Specifically speculation and rumour suggest the phone will have a new triple-camera setup similar to the ones seen on most 2019 Android flagships.

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