Apple owns a two-year lead over Android imitators in 3D sensing race

“Most Android phones will have to wait until 2019 to duplicate the 3D sensing feature behind Apple’s Face ID security, three major parts producers have told Reuters, handicapping Samsung and others on a technology that is set to be worth billions in revenue over the next few years,” Sonam Rai and Stephen Nellis report for Reuters. “The development of new features for the estimated 1.5 billion smart phones shipped annually has been at the heart of the battle for global market share over the past decade, with Apple, bolstered by its huge R&D budget, often leading.”

“When the iPhone 5S launched with a fingerprint-sensing home button in September 2013, for example, it took its biggest rival Samsung until just April of the next year to deliver its own in the Galaxy S5, with others following soon after,” Rai and Nellis report. “The 3D sensing technology is expected to enhance the next generation of phones, enabling accurate facial recognition as well as secure biometrics for payments, gesture sensing, and immersive shopping and gaming experiences.”

“‘This kind of functionality is going to be very important for AR,’ said Gartner analyst Jon Erensen. ‘I think that is something where you don’t want to get left behind,'” Rai and Nellis report. “China’s Huawei, Xiaomi and others could be a total of almost two years behind Apple, which launched Face ID with its iPhone X anniversary phone last September. In particular, Android producers are struggling to source vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers, or VCSELs, a core part of Apple’s Face ID hardware.”

“Apple’s effort to get ahead with the technology is the latest evidence of an aggressive approach by the Cupertino-based company to making the most of the technological advances its financial firepower can deliver,” Rai and Nellis report. “The iPhone maker’s $390 million deal in December to secure supplies from VCSEL-maker Finisar was one such move. Another is Apple’s discussions with major cobalt producers to nail down supplies for lithium-ion rechargeable batteries that power its mobile phones.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If it’s not an iPhone, it’s not an iPhone.

Lumentum’s share surge fueled by higher iPhone X part sales – February 6, 2018
Finisar deal helps Apple block Android rivals’ path to AR features – December 14, 2017
Apple makes Trump-friendly investment in Finisar – December 13, 2017
Apple is backing up iPhone X’s Face ID and AirPods with American jobs – December 13, 2017
How Apple and Finisar are transforming the future of Sherman, Texas – December 13, 2017
Apple awards $390 million to VCSEL-maker Finisar; award will create 500 high-skill jobs at Sherman, Texas facility – December 13, 2017
Apple’s custom silicon sets their products apart – December 7, 2017
Apple ships more microprocessors than Intel – October 2, 2017
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple’s TrueDepth camera system puts iPhone X years ahead of Android competition – October 2, 2017
iPhone 8’s Apple A11 Bionic chip so destroys Android phones that Geekbench creator can’t even believe it – September 30, 2017

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz,” “David E.,” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. The iPhone X has a two-year lead on its would-be competitors, yet it only costs a bit more than Samsung’s latest flagship phone.

    Please tell me again…which phone is too expensive?? I thought so.

  2. All the iPhone X reviewers said they would much rather have an in-display fingerprint sensor because they believe that’s the best (only) way to authenticate themselves. A fingerprint sensor is supposedly much faster and they can unlock the smartphone from any angle and when lying flat. Every one of the reviewers said Face ID is about a few tenths of a second to slow for them to use and used up too much of their day. They said Apple took the wrong approach using Face ID and they said Vivo took the best approach with the in-display sensor. It was unanimous. Apple is doomed.

  3. It’s not just how long they take to catch up its even more the time it takes to make their version actually perform remotely as good. They rush the former and hope despite that, to disguise the latter through PR and FUD.

  4. Looking forward to the next generation of Li-ion batteries, which promise 3 times the current charge capacity with no chance of conflagration. It would huge if Apple could get this to work
    Suspect Apple is headed that way, given their effort to secure supplies of Lithium.

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