iPhone 8 may include 3D laser to support AR apps

Apple is reportedly working hard to build a 3D laser into the rear of the iPhone 8, which would enable better depth detection for augmented reality applications.

A source, speaking to Fast Company, said that the 3D lasers were intended for the 10th anniversary iPhone, coming this fall, but may be pushed back to the next iPhone in 2018.

See also: Apple acquires German AR and eye-tracking company

The 3D lasers would make sense, considering Apple’s ARkit announcement at WWDC 2017 in June. CEO Tim Cook has also said the company is focused on AR over VR, and have made some big predictions of the new technology in interviews this year.

Earlier in the year, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, one of the more accurate Apple analysts, said the front-facing camera would have laser effects for authentication.

Apple forcing prices down?

Augmented reality is still in infancy, with offerings like Microsoft’s HoloLens and Magic Leap’s headset still not available to consumers. Apple’s entry could force prices down and open the playing field for developers, but early ARkit partners don’t appear to be making their apps too ambitious.

IKEA, one of Apple’s launch partners, will launch an AR app that lets shoppers place furniture into their own home. At launch, users will scan an item in-store and then test it at home, but in the future IKEA may open its entire catalog to customers without having to visit the store.

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