Apple could reportedly put a rear-facing 3-D sensor in its 2019 iPhone

Key Points
  • Apple is working on a rear-facing 3-D sensor for the 2019 iPhone.
  • This would complement the front-facing TrueDepth sensor that powers FaceID.
  • A second 3-D sensor would bolster the iPhone's augmented reality capabilities.
The iPhone X is displayed during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theatre on Sept. 12, 2017 in Cupertino, Calif.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Apple is exploring a rear-facing 3-D sensor system for the iPhone to be released in 2019, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The technology would be different than the TrueDepth sensor that's on the front of the iPhone X. The iPhone X's system relies on a light technique that projects thousands of laser dots on a person's face to generate an image. The new technology could bounce light off a person's face and calculate the time it takes for the laser to bounce off in order to create a 3-D image.

Bloomberg reported that the company is expected to keep the TrueDepth sensor but add the new 3-D system on the back of the phone. The iPhone X's system uses the TrueDepth front-facing sensor to power FaceID, the feature that allows people to unlock their device with their face.

The technology testing is in the early stages and could end up being ditched from the final version of the iPhone, the report said.

Another 3-D sensor could boost the number of augmented reality applications that could be used on the upcoming iPhone. AR is seen as a future growth driver for Apple. The technology will make the iPhone "even more essential," CEO Tim Cook said in a recent interview with CNBC.

Read the full report at Bloomberg.