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Spatial Video might explain the iPhone 16’s vertical camera redesign

Published Nov 30th, 2023 8:18AM EST
Recording a spatial video on iPhone 15 Pro.
Image: Apple Inc.

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One of the main changes rumored to be coming to the regular iPhone 16 models is the switch to a vertical camera alignment instead of the current diagonal alignment. While many could think this is just Apple’s way of recycling a design to sell more smartphones, I think there’s a more important reason behind it: Cupertino wants to expand Apple Vision Pro‘s usefulness by adding more devices that can capture Spatial Videos.

After Apple’s spatial computer was teased during the WWDC 2023 keynote, I wrote that the company wouldn’t limit Spatial Videos for the Vision Pro, as it would be very awkward – and impractical – to capture moments outdoors or even with your family/friends, with a headset. A more natural way could be (at the time) the upcoming iPhone 15 Pro – and I was right.

During the September event, Apple announced that the iPhone 15 Pro could record Spatial Videos. As of iOS 17.2 beta, the company started testing this function. Although this feature is exclusive to the Pro models, I’m sure Apple will expand it to all iPhone 16 models in 2024. Here’s why.

iPhone 15 Pros will take spatial video for the Vision Pro.
iPhone 15 Pros will take spatial video for the Vision Pro. Image source: Apple Inc.

First and foremost, if you look at how Spatial Videos are recorded, Apple uses the primary and ultra-wide cameras to create videos with “remarkable depth” – and not the LiDAR scanner. With that, by changing the iPhone 16 cameras from a diagonal angle to a vertical, they would be positioned the same as the lenses on the iPhone 15 Pro models.

In addition, Apple is rumored to deliver a new A18 chip for the iPhone 16 instead of reusing the A17 Pro. Although this processor might not be as powerful as the future A18 Pro, it will undoubtedly be capable of processing this data to capture spatial videos. After all, these 1080p images use approximately 130 MB per minute.

That said, I believe that Apple might make 4K Spatial Video available for iPhone 16 Pro models. Still, offering Full HD recording for the regular models could be another way to entice users to purchase the Vision Pro headset next year – and in the years to follow.

Although we’re still ten months away from the new iPhones being unveiled, there’s a lot we already know about them. Below, you can learn more about the new models.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.