The next generation smartphones will purportedly feature a more powerful flood illuminator.
We believe that Apple will raise the output power of the flood illuminator VCSEL to lower the impacts from invisible lights of environment in order to improve the Face ID user experience. The higher power VCSEL with higher ASP needs increased requirements of design and production, increased materials for array design, and longer testing times. Therefore, the VCSEL supply chain can add higher value.
Kuo also predicts a Time of Flight (ToF) 3D camera will be added to iPad in late 2019 or early 2020. The camera could expand to iPhone in the second half of 2020. A time-of-flight approach calculates the time it takes for a laser to bounce off surrounding objects, creating a 3D picture of your environment.
We give a greater than 50% probability that the new iPad in 4Q19/1Q20 may adopt ToF (our previous forecast that the 2H19 new iPhone will not adopt ToF remains unchanged). We believe that 3D modeling captured by ToF and then edited by an Apple Pencil on an iPad will create an all-new productivity experience for design applications in a totally different manner from computers.
We estimate that ToF will likely be adopted by the new iPhone in 2H20 at the latest. The iPhone's adoption of ToF will create the new AR experience and improve photo quality. We expect that Apple's ToF design may adopt the higher-than-1,000nm wavelength VCSEL (vs. current Face ID's 935-945nm) for better system design and user experience.
It's still about a year before Apple will unveil any major updates to its iPhone and iPad Pro so plans could change. You can follow iClarified on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or RSS for updates.