Apple is evaluating a different technology from the one it currently uses in the TrueDepth sensor system on the front of the iPhone X, the people said. The existing system relies on a structured-light technique that projects a pattern of 30,000 laser dots onto a user’s face and measures the distortion to generate an accurate 3-D image for authentication. The planned rear-facing sensor would instead use a time-of-flight approach that calculates the time it takes for a laser to bounce off surrounding objects to create a three-dimensional picture of the environment.
Discussions have already begun with prospective suppliers of the new system. Infineon, Sony, STMicroelectronics, and Panasonic make time-of-flight sensors. However, Bloomberg cautions that testing of the technology is in its initial stages and Apple's plans could change.
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