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The iPhone 8’s upcoming 3D FaceTime camera could make selfies great again

Published Feb 24th, 2017 4:57PM EST

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One of the hot new features of the iPhone 8 might be the FaceTime selfie camera, many reports have suggested. The camera is expected to incorporate additional hardware and software features that will give it additional powers on top of its basic picture-taking and video chat features. A new report from a top source indicates that the iPhone 8’s 3D camera could “reinvent the user experience.”

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a new research note seen by Business Insider that Apple is expected to start production of the iPhone with a 3D camera camera in September.

The camera is supposed to feature “3D sensing and modeling capabilities,” that could be used for facial recognition-based iPhone unlock, as well as augmented reality (AR) features.

“After 1-2 years spent on related-component R&D, OLED iPhone to feature proprietary 3D camera system; three modules of 3D camera system to be calibrated precisely via active alignment,” Kuo notes.

“In keeping with Apple’s stringent quality standards, we believe: (1) related optical components, including VCSEL, DOE, wafer-level lens and filter for IR transmitting module, and CIS, filter, and lens of IR receiver module have all been custom-designed in collaboration with suppliers; and (2) calibration of front camera, IR transmitting and IR receiving modules via active alignment is required in order to allow the 3D camera system to operate precisely.”

That might sound overly complicated, and that description alone seems to indicate that we should expect various novel features from the upgraded FaceTime camera, considering the ample amount of time Apple spent on creating it.

Furthermore, Business Insider says that given the fact that Apple worked for so long on the 3D camera, it’s unlikely for the company to change its design at this point.

However, what’s somewhat disturbing about this report is that the iPhone 8 with a 3D front-facing camera is supposed to hit production only in September. Apple is likely going to stick to its September launch window for the iPhone. Will it have enough iPhone 8 units to go around at launch if production only starts in September?

Earlier this week, the same Kuo described the potential new features of a front-facing 3D selfie camera in a different report.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.