One reason for the unprecedented starting price may now have been revealed. A veteran Apple analyst reports the new iPhone 8 will feature a revolutionary new 3D FaceTime camera. This will allow Apple to incorporate high-tech features like facial recognition, and could be the missing piece that lets the company push into augmented reality.
9to5 Mac published details of a report, released yesterday by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. According to Kuo, iPhone 8 won’t push the limits of the primary camera the way the dual-lens system on the iPhone 7 Plus did. Instead, it will get a new FaceTime camera he describes a “revolutionary.”
The KGI report says the new camera will incorporate an advanced infrared sensor, and employ technology developed by PrimeSense — the Israeli 3D sensor company Apple bought in 2013. Together, the camera lens, IR transmitter and IR receiver will be able to accurately track the depth and location of objects. In other words, an advanced 3D sensing system.
KGI even has the component manufacturers identified. Ming-Chi Kuo says Sony Corp (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) will produce the FaceTime camera module. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd (OTCMKTS:HNHPF) — Foxconn to you and me — is expected to make the IR sensors. Lumentum Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:LITE) will provide laser technology. Algorithms from PrimeSense will make sense of all the imaging data, along with facial recognition know-how from the 2015 Apple purchase Metaio.
IPhone 8 FaceTime Camera: The Key to Facial Recognition and AR
The FaceTime camera is the iPhone’s so-called “selfie” camera. So what’s the point of packing this camera with advanced technology? Better selfies?
By going this route, the iPhone 8 gains a number of significant features that have previously been hinted at. The system could be used for 3D facial recognition and/or iris scanning. This advanced biometric capability would be more secure than the current Touch ID fingerprint system and could help AAPL to drive Apple Pay adoption. Facial recognition would also be a hig- tech selling feature.
The technology would also support Apple’s augmented reality ambitions. We’ve previously written about how Apple CEO Tim Cook has been increasingly vocal about AR and its potential to be a game-changing technology. That promotion has stepped up in the past year, leading to speculation AAPL is preparing to release a product with augmented reality as a key feature.
The iPhone 8’s new FaceTime camera — with its 3D capabilities — could be that big AR announcement we’ve been anticipating. The KGI report suggests the iPhone 8’s camera could scan the user’s face and generate 3D selfies (there it is).
Besides the ultra-cool selfie capability, these images could them be stitched into applications, such as games.
IPhone 8 on Track to Be a High-Tech Leader
We’re certain AAPL will be sparing no expense when it comes to making iPhone 8 a visual standout. It will have a bold new design — likely all glass with a stainless steel band and bezel-free OLED display.
But the KGI report on the new FaceTime camera suggests it will also be a technology standout. Biometric security and AR support are looking to be key features. The new camera brings together a number of AAPL’s past acquisitions, helps to explain that rumored $1,000+ price tag and puts Tim Cook’s ongoing pep talks about AR into perspective.
And according to KGI, the technology Apple has assembled for the iPhone 8 is “years ahead of Android.” So the iPhone 8 may have the opportunity to not only convince older iPhone holdouts to upgrade, it may also be technically advanced enough win over some converts from the rival platform.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.