iPhone 15 Pro rumored to feature improved LiDAR scanner

As we’ve been hearing a lot about iPhone 15 this week, reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has shared new details about what to expect from Apple’s next-generation smartphone. According to Kuo, Apple has chosen a new supplier for the LiDAR scanner in the iPhone 15 Pro models, which will result in improvements to this technology.

Improved LiDAR technology coming to iPhone 15 Pro

The analyst said on Friday that Apple is replacing Lumentum and Win Semiconductors with Sony as its Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor supplier for the next-generation iPhone. Kuo says that Apple’s current suppliers are expected to face “long-term structural risks in the VCSEL market,” which would have made Apple opt for a new partner.

While switching suppliers doesn’t always change how the final product works, Kuo pointed out that this time it may result in benefits for customers. That’s because Sony has more advanced ToF sensors that integrate the VCSEL (the surface that emits the lasers) and the driver IC.

Because of this, Sony’s sensors consume less power and even offer better performance under the same power consumption conditions. In this scenario, apps that rely on the LiDAR scanner of the iPhone would be positively impacted. It’s worth noting that only iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are expected to feature a LiDAR scanner.

The LiDAR scanner was first introduced with the 2020 iPad Pro and then added to the iPhone 12 Pro. The technology uses a Time-of-Flight sensor to emit lasers and calculate the distance between the device and objects. This allows augmented reality apps to capture an accurate depth map of the environment. Apple also uses the LiDAR scanner to enhance photo capture in dark environments.

LiDAR scanner
Precision depth map captured with iPad Pro’s LiDAR scanner

More about iPhone 15 Pro

Based on the renders shown by 9to5Mac and also the leaked image, iPhone 15 Pro will have a slightly curved titanium frame on the front and back. The bezels around the screen will be thinner, although Dynamic Island will be the same size as on the iPhone 14 Pro. Other details include a thicker camera bump and USB-C for the first time on an iPhone.

According to our sources, Apple is also working on a new dark red color for this year’s iPhone Pro lineup. The new iPhones are expected to be announced this fall.

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