2020 iPad Pro Said to Feature 3D Sensing Rear Cameras

Apple plans to release a new iPad Pro with 3D sensing rear cameras in March 2020, according to Korean website The Elec.


The report, citing unnamed industry sources, claims that Korean contract manufacturer Derkwoo Electronics will provide some of the components for the 3D sensing camera modules, including stiffeners and brackets. Mass production of those parts will supposedly begin towards the end of 2019.

The rear 3D sensing is said to be powered by time-of-flight technology, which measures the time that it takes for a laser or LED to bounce off of objects in a room, providing an accurate 3D map of the surroundings.

While the iPhone is expected to adopt a similar time-of-flight system next year, the report suggests that the iPad Pro will adopt the technology six months before the iPhone. Specifically, the new iPad Pro models would be released in March 2020, while new iPhones would likely follow in September.

Apple would be breaking precedent by refreshing the iPad Pro in March 2020, however, as the tablet has gone roughly 18 months between hardware updates since first launching in November 2015 — the second-generation 12.9-inch model was released in June 2017, followed by third-generation models in November 2018.

Bloomberg recently reported that Apple plans to refresh the iPad Pro lineup with faster processors and upgraded cameras by the end of 2019, while Japanese blog Mac Otakara expects new iPad Pro models with triple-lens rear cameras to launch in October, which would only be five months before the March 2020 refresh.

It's also worth considering that the iPad rarely receives new features before the iPhone, with exceptions including LTE on the iPad 3 before the iPhone 5 in 2012, and the iPad receiving A4 and A5 chips before the iPhone.

A few possibilities can be speculated based on all of this information, with one being that Apple holds off on refreshing the iPad Pro in fall 2019 and instead introduces the triple-lens rear camera system with 3D sensing in March 2020, around 16 months after the November 2018 models launched.

Another possibility is that the March 2020 timeframe is inaccurate and that next year's iPad Pro models launch in October instead, which would better space out the 2019 and 2020 refreshes and allow rear 3D sensing to debut on the iPhone.

3D sensing rear cameras coming to both the iPhone and iPad is not much of a surprise as Apple pushes further into augmented reality.

As additional reports surface, the iPad Pro's roadmap should become clearer.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro

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