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Apple’s entire iPhone 13 lineup might get a massive camera upgrade

Published Jan 4th, 2021 8:10PM EST
iPhone 13 leaks
Image: Apple Inc.

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  • The iPhone 13 leaks are already piling up even though the new year has barely begun, with the latest report suggesting that Apple is giving the camera a big upgrade across the entire iPhone 13 lineup.
  • According to a supply chain report, Apple’s entire 2021 iPhone lineup is getting a LiDAR scanner for the rear camera array.
  • Among other leaked details about the iPhone 13, it’s also been reported that Apple is planning to bring OLED displays with low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) technology to multiple iPhone models in 2021.

The new year has barely begun, and already the iPhone 13 leaks are starting to pile up — this time thanks to a supply chain report from Digitimes which claims that a big camera upgrade is in store for Apple’s entire iPhone 13 lineup.

Specifically, Apple is reportedly planning to take the new LiDAR scanner on the rear camera array that was added to the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max and expand its availability beyond the iPhone ‘Pro’ models. Buried in the Digitimes report is the news that the LiDAR scanner, which is exclusive to the iPhone 12 Pro models right now, will be added to “all 2021 iPhone models.” From the report: “Apple has adopted dToF LiDAR scanner in iPad Pro and iPhone 12 Pro series, and is expected to apply the scanner technology to all its 2021 iPhone models, which will remain available with Face ID sensors, the sources said.”

Moreover, that’s not even all Digitimes had to say about this particular news item. It also seems that Apple has inked a deal with Sony which guarantees these LiDAR scanners will be used in iPhones for at least three years, through 2023. The three-year contract with Sony offers “a new-generation near infrared (NIR) CIS with a single photon avalanche diode (SPAD) array for dToF LiDAR scanner, indicating that Apple will adopt the scanner in iPhones and other devices through at least 2023.”

Among the uses that LiDAR scanners make available: They make it possible to measure how far away objects are, up to a certain distance away. Using this tool, it allows for better AR experiences as well as the ability to measure a person’s height instantly, as noted by MacRumors. Bringing it to every iPhone 13 model also follows Apple’s pattern of bringing certain features to its top-tier devices ahead of a fuller launch to more affordable device formats in subsequent years.

Among other iPhone 13 leaks, meanwhile, is the report we mentioned back in November from the Korean electronics blog The Elec, which said that Apple is planning to bring OLED displays with low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) technology to multiple iPhone models in 2021. The report claims that two of Apple’s 2021 iPhone models will utilize LTPO technology out of the four iPhone models planned for this year, which suggests that the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will have LTPO displays.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.