Apple brings many new features to the recently launched iPhone 12 quartet. One of them is the LiDar sensor on the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max.
In the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max camera modules, you can see the LiDAR sensor under the camera and flash array. The sensor is black and approximately the same size as the flash on it.
Apple has the LiDAR sensor as one of the flagship features of the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max. But what exactly does this sensor do?
Quoted from The Next Web, LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging. This feature was originally used by autonomous cars to map the surrounding area by measuring the distance of objects through the reflection of light rays.
Apple has previously used this sensor on the iPad Pro launched in March 2020. But the main purpose of the feature on the iPad Pro is to provide a better augmented reality (AR) experience.
LiDAR sensors used in the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max claim Apple can help in three ways: effects for photos and videos, precisely placing AR objects and scanning objects and rooms.
For the last two functions it is likely only utilized for developers and businesses, such as construction that needs mapping the room. For ordinary consumers, photo and video effects are certainly the most interesting function.
LiDAR can work in dark conditions by firing lasers to determine distance. Therefore, Apple uses it to improve autofocus on the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max.
Apple claims that the LiDAR sensor pushes the autofocus speed in the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max to six times faster than autofocus on a normal camera. In addition, the LiDAR sensor also allows the iPhone to take photos in portrait mode in low-light conditions.
LiDAR technology is actually similar to the Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensors widely used by Samsung and Huawei flagship phones. But both have different ways of working.
Having LiDAR sensors on your phone will encourage developers to further develop AR deployments. Like Snapchat it has confirmed it will provide LiDAR-based filters in its app.
With prices starting at $999 for the iPhone 12 Pro, and $1,099 for the iPhone 12 Pro Max, it may be a bit heavy to spend that much money just to explore LiDAR technology. But if you’re a photographer or have a hobby of photography and are obsessed with quality low-light photos, these two phones might be an option.