We’re not expecting the 2020 iPhone models to be launched before September next year but, as usual, the rumor mill is already grinding heavily. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is now claiming in his latest report that two of the 2020 models will come with rear time-of-flight (ToF) 3D depth sensor.

This type of sensor can measure distances by measuring the time it takes for a laser pulse to travel until it hits an object and is reflected back. This allows for the calculation of a detailed 3D map of the camera’s surroundings including all objects in a scene.

According to rumors, Apple is not planning to replace the existing IR-based Face-ID system with the ToF-sensors, but instead wants to enable new augmented reality use cases. For example, a 3D-map of a room could be generated with a smartphone and used for more immersive and accurate augmented reality implementations than currently available.

When shooting in the camera’s Portrait mode the sensors could also be used to refine the depth maps for the artificial bokeh effect and deliver improve results.

Apple is not the first manufacturer to use the technology, however. Many smartphone makers have used ToF sensors to improve the performance of their autofocus systems. In its G8 device LG is also using the technology to enable motion gestures and improve portrait images. Data from the sensors is also used for the Portrait mode and a measuring app on the Huawei P30 Pro.