The Apple and several other smartphone manufacturers would be interested in the technology Sony 3D sensors for cameras, according to unconfirmed reports in the Bloomberg Quint. Satoshi Yoshihara, general manager of the Japanese giant’s camera and sensor division, says it is boosting production of new sensors by early 2019 to meet expected demand “by various handset manufacturers.”
Yoshihara claims that in addition to Apple, Samsung and even Alphabet are on the list of Sony customers for the technology, which has been operating profitably within Sony. He did not offer data such as production targets or sales expectations but said the division should bring strong results already in the first quarter of next year’s Japanese fiscal year.
Currently, Apple uses the “TrueDepth” technology of 3D sensors in its cameras, which works by “drawing” a grid around the object to be photographed. By analyzing deviations and visual variations within this grid, the sensor can map a 3D reproduction of what the camera sees, creating a biometric identification that is applied, for example, to FaceID to unlock the company’s most modern iPhones.
Sony, on the other hand, uses a system known as “Time of Flight” (or simply “TOF”), which works by creating “depth maps” by measuring the time taken for a point of light to travel from the sensor to the object and back. Yoshihara claims that this method is more accurate and covers greater distances than other technologies.
Although Sony is a major player in the use of this technology, it does not own its patent. In addition to the Japanese, they also produce sensors with technology companies such as Infineon, Panasonic, and STMicroelectronics. Sony did not confirm the claims of its manager and Apple did not comment on the rumors.