Apple Inc. plans to launch iPhones with a more-powerful 3-D camera as soon as next year, stepping up the company's push into augmented reality, according to people familiar with the plans.
The rear-facing, longer-range 3-D camera is designed to scan the environment to create three-dimensional reconstructions of the real world. It will work up to about 15 feet from the device, the people said. That's in contrast with the current iPhone 3-D camera system, which points toward users and operates at distances of 25 to 50 centimeters to power Apple's Face ID facial-recognition feature.
Apple's new system uses a laser scanner, rather than the existing dot-projection technology which doesn't work as well over longer distances, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing unreleased features. That's just one of many new features – including a third, more advanced camera, enhanced photo-capture tools and a more powerful chip – that Apple plans to include in coming generations of iPhones, the people said...