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Apple's next iPhone Pros could have camera that scans 3D objects, says analyst report

The upcoming iPhone appears set to go big on augmented reality.

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Another day, another report on what Apple might be planning for its next iPhone update. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

There were already plenty of rumors about the next iPhone adding a time-of-flight sensor for better depth recording. On Thursday we can add yet another claim to that growing pile. 

In a note to investors spotted by CNBC, Barclays' semiconductor analysts wrote that the forthcoming iPhones will boast a "refreshed" version of Face ID for facial recognition, as well as supporting those rumors of the higher-end "Pro" successors adding a time-of-flight sensor on the back to help with 3D image capture. 

The exact new features of the updated Face ID weren't shared. In addition to assisting with AR, the new rear sensor could also help boost portrait photos as it captures more depth information about its subject. 

Time-of-flight cameras are already found on phones like Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 Plus and are expected to appear on at least some variants of the Galaxy S20 Samsung is rumored to introduce on Feb. 11

The new sensor was previously said to be coming in updates to Apple's "Pro" model iPhones by noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo also reported that Apple plans to release four new iPhones, all with OLED displays and support for 5G in a design that is similar to 2010's iPhone 4. 

Apple traditionally updates its main iPhone line in the fall, so the wait for the next major version could be a while. The company is, however, expected to introduce an iPhone SE successor, with a design similar to that of the iPhone 8, in the first half of the year.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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