The iPhone 14 Pro Max’s camera is already among the top in smartphone land, of course, and soon it will only get better. Apple is eager to bring 3D photos to the iPhone.
Cameras that take 3D photos and video have been around for a while, but it never really took off. That looks set to change soon, and it has everything to do with the Apple Vision Pro.
The Apple Vision Pro at WWDC 23
During the presentation of the Apple Vision Pro during WWDC 23, we saw several features of the device. One of them was that it can show 3D photos and videos, making it look like you are really there.
It is brave that Apple is betting on 3D, after the technology seemed to have really failed in recent years. 3D televisions never became popular, and the Nintendo 3DS may also be called a real failure. Still, the time for 3D does seem ripe with the Apple Vision Pro, but it needs some work, and for that the company is now thinking about the iPhone’s camera.
During the presentation of the Apple Vision Pro, the company showed a video showing a girl blowing out candles on a cake in 3D. That video was taken with the Apple Vision Pro. That’s a lot of fun, but it seems logical to us that you don’t want to have the Vision Pro on your head at every important event. Then you still seem absent at the real moment. The iPhone’s camera should provide the solution.
Taking 3D photos and videos with your iPhone camera
To address this issue, Apple does need to come out with a 3D camera (or as the company calls it, a spatial camera) on the newer iPhones and perhaps iPad Pros. Considering the Apple Vision Pro goes on sale in early 2024, one would expect the feature on the iPhone 15 or 16 Pro (Max). Still, that seems a bit too early. That may require some other sensors, though the iPhone 14 Pro already has LIDAR.
Still, Apple’s camera does not appear to be a true 3D camera, if we are to believe Chris Heinrich of Polycam. His app allows for 3D scans of environments, which is ideal for the Apple Vision Pro. To Techradar, he tells us that the Vision Pro does not create true 3D models, but rather stereoscopic photos that produce a 3D effect and perhaps allow for some small head movements.
According to him, it will take much more than just a LIDAR scanner to make 3D possible. Rather, he thinks of one more camera to be placed at a greater distance from the other cameras. Think of the distance being as large as between our eyes. So this will require revising the design of the iPhone. This, of course, also involves costs. How Apple will solve this remains to be seen, but it seems almost certain that Apple will have to do something about it.