We've seen a plethora of rumors suggesting that Apple may incorporate a 3D camera in the upcoming model of the iPhone. Given that all these rumors were based either on some analysts' predictions or some leaked information provided by tipsters, they have always been taken with a pinch of salt. But the so-called iPhone 5 rumor mill got another boost with 3D technology-related speculations on Tuesday after reports surfaced online saying that Apple was looking for a 3D technology expert.


Credit: Antonio De Rosa/ADR Studio

According to the job listing on Apple's website, the Cupertino tech giant seeks a Computer Vision specialist to strengthen its multi-view stereo research group having knowledge and experience in Computer Vision, Image Analysis and 3D geometry. Given below is the full job description as mentioned by Apple.


Apple Job Listing Hints At 3D Technology For Future iOS Devices. Credit: Apple

Since the job listing calls for an iOS software engineer, its connections to the company's unconfirmed connected TV ventures can be ruled out, somewhat. That said, will future iPhones and iPads feature 3D technology? Yes, its very likely they will, not in the near future though, not even in the next-gen iPhone.

Jake Smith of 9to5Mac said that while rival manufacturers like HTC and LG have already implemented 3D cameras and passive 3D displays onto some of their handsets, Apple is yet to include the same in its devices.

There are a few 3D savvy folks in Cupertino, however. One employee on job ranking website Glassdoor called Apple the best job I've had in my 36 year career of 2D/3D imaging. What is interesting is that Apple is continuing to hire someone with serious credentials to work on 3D technology, Smith said in a report.

However, he did seem skeptical over Apple implementing 3D technology onto the next iPhone model. I really do not think we will see a 3D display or 3D camera on an iPhone anytime soon, because Apple would most likely rather stick with its stunning Retina display. However, I think such an engineer would work on products like a panorama mode for the camera, Smith added.

A report in iPhone 5 News Blog also said that 3D technology is less likely for the next iPhone. According to it, one of main sources of the iPhone 5 rumor mill is approved Apple patents that could be more informative than leaked photos but usually serve as harbingers of what the more distant future may hold for Apple, rather than what is going to happen soon.

Given the fact that all we have to go on for 3D technology for the iPhone are patents and a job posting, it would seem that 3D might be a feature slated for a future iOS device, like the iPhone 6, said the report. Also, of the iPhone 5 production rumors we've heard about coming out of Asia, nothing has been mentioned about 3D displays.

Some reports have suggested Apple could implement the technology into the new/next iPhone, but considering October would seem the most likely month of release, one would have thought Apple would want to take a little more time perfecting the implementation first, said another report in Redmond Pie.

Whether the next-gen iPhone features the 3D photo taking capability or some kind of 3D holographic user interface, one thing is sure that Apple is working on 3D technology for an upcoming feature. Maybe it will usher in a truly holographic user interface down the line that will serve to replace gesture control as we know it, said the report in iPhone 5 News Blog.

Apple's Patent For 3D Cameras

In March, reports surfaced online about a patent filing by Apple in the US Patent and Trademark Office. The reports suggested that Apple could be working on an advanced camera for mobile devices that could create three-dimensional (3D) models of scanned objects and that the new development might arrive on future iDevices like the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

According to the new patent application detailed by Patently Apple, Apple has invented a killer 3D imaging camera that will apply to both still photography and video. The new cameras in development will utilize new depth-detection sensors such as LIDAR, RADAR and Laser that will create stereo disparity maps in creating 3D imagery. Additionally, the cameras will use advanced chrominance and luminance Sensors for superior color accuracy. In addition, the new 3D cameras could also recognize facial expressions and gesturing.

Apple hinted in the application that the technology will be introduced in a number of electric devices including, but not limited to, digital cameras, personal computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), mobile telephones, a standalone camera, or any other devices that can be configured to process image data.

The iPhone-maker also said that existing 3D imaging devices are incapable of obtaining detailed geometric information of 3D objects and are incapable of extracting depth information. As the solution, Apple's patent relates to systems, apparatuses and methods for capturing a three-dimensional image using one or more dedicated cameras.

What Will the iPhone 5 Offer?

9to5mac reported last week that new models of the iPhone and iPod touch are already in the works. Apple has internally seeded a prototype next-generation iPhone with the iPhone 4 design. The actual next-generation iPhone is specifically said to not include the iPhone 4/4S design, but Apple is testing these new devices in older casings to throw off leaks, said the report.

The iPhone prototypes had a variation of the A5X's S5L8945X architecture and like the new iPad, they were also packing 1GB of RAM, the report added.

However, some previous reports suggested that the sixth generation iPhone would feature an A6 processor. It was expected to be a superfast 1.2 to 1.5 GHz processor with 1GB or more of RAM to offer amazing processing capabilities to the smartphone.

As regards the other likely features, the upcoming iPhone model includes an 8 megapixel (or even higher) camera with the ability to take pictures in the panorama mode, a 2 megapixel front-facing camera for video chatting, iOS 6, 4G LTE technology, Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, improved Siri and a much-improved battery life.

While there is no official word on when the upcoming iteration of the Apple iPhone will finally arrive, chances are that it will be a fall launch rather than in the summer.