By Roger Fingas
Friday, April 26, 2019, 02:05 pm PT (05:05 pm ET)
Rumors suggest Apple’s iPhone XR follow-up will upgrade to a dual-lens rear camera in 2019, potentially delivering the company’s advanced photographic technology to an entry-level smartphone model for the first time.
As with the iPhone X and XS, one lens would be wide-angle and the other telephoto, Mac Otakara said on Friday, citing information from Chinese suppliers. The current XR has a single wide-angle lens, identical to recent base level iPhone offerings.
Traditionally Apple has used telephoto lenses for two purposes, the first being 2x optical zoom instead of digital enlargement. The second, though, is Portrait Mode photos accomplished in the iOS Camera app — the telephoto becomes the primary lens, while the wide-angle captures depth data used to isolate the subject and simulate DSLR-style bokeh.
The XR employs specialized algorithms to achieve a similar Portrait effect, but the resulting image is zoomed-out and not necessarily as accurate as its XS counterpart.
Multiple reports have pointed to flagship 5.8- and 6.5-inch “XI” and “XI Max” OLED iPhones coming with a triple-lens camera, the third lens possibly being a super-wide unit. Mac Otakara added that two out of three lenses/sensors may be used as common parts to keep costs down.
Separate design changes may include iPad-style mute switches and the use of 3D-molded rear glass, even covering the phones’ larger camera bumps. That same all-glass design is expected with the dual-camera XR successor, which could rely on a familiar 6.1-inch LCD screen, the report said.
It is also possible that the new phones will include USB-C to Lightning cables and 18-watt USB-C power adapters, but keep Lightning as their wired data type.