Apple looks increasingly unlikely to expand its LiDAR Scanner to the entire iPhone 13 lineup this year, despite some rumors to the contrary.
The LiDAR Scanner is a small sensor that uses 3D sensing to measure the distance to surrounding objects up to five meters away. This technology allows for enhanced augmented reality experiences and other unique capabilities, such as the ability to measure a person’s height instantly.
Apple introduced the LiDAR scanner on the iPad Pro in March 2020, and later expanded it to the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max. Since then, there have been conflicting rumors about whether Apple will bring the feature to all iPhone 13 models in 2021.
A DigiTimes report in January first suggested this was part of Apple’s plans for its next flagship lineup, and that we could expect LiDAR in the iPhone 13 mini and standard iPhone 13. Apple frequently introduces new features or specs on higher-end devices before trickling them down to lower-end devices in later years, so the claim seemed credible at the time.
Two months later, however, reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the rear LiDAR Scanner would actually remain limited to iPhone 13 Pro models, a claim which was quickly corroborated by sources who spoke to Barclays analysts.
Leaker “Dylandkt,” who has been accurate in the past about Apple product details before they were launched, said today that LiDAR is “only coming to the Pro iPhone models,” regardless of hints earlier in the year suggesting otherwise.
Even if LiDAR doesn’t come to the non-Pro variants of the iPhone 13, we do still expect other camera-related feaures being expanded across the entire iPhone lineup, including sensor-shift stabilization, which will introduce improvements in low light performance and stabilization by reducing camera shake.
There’s also the possibility that all iPhones will receive an upgraded Ultra Wide camera lens with a wider f/1.8 aperture, although Kuo believes this upgrade will be exclusive to the Pro models. Lastly, display analyst Ross Young believes the entire 2021 iPhone lineup will use the same camera sensors as the iPhone 12 Pro Max, bringing overall improvements to the lower-end models.