Sony has Reportedly signed a 3-Year Deal with Apple for next-gen 'Direct Time-of-Flight' LiDAR scanners for iPhone 13 & beyond
In October 2020 Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Advances their next-gen Time-of-Flight (ToF) camera for iDevices providing superior 3D Modeling for Face ID and more." The patent covered Apple's "Direct Time-of-Flight" scannerless LiDAR which were used in the latest iPhone 12 and iPad Pro. The patent is now considered fulfilled.
It's now being reported by Digitimes that Sony, in the supply chain for Apple devices, has reportedly signed a three-year contract with Apple to offer a new-generation near infrared (NIR) CIS with a single photon avalanche diode (SPAD) array for dToF LiDAR scanner, indicating that Apple will adopt the scanner in iPhones and other devices through at least 2023, the sources said.
Apple has adopted dToF LiDAR scanner in iPad Pro and iPhone 12 Pro series, and is expected to apply the scanner technology to all its 2021 iPhone models, which will remain available with face ID sensors, the sources said.
Android-camp handset vendors including Samsung Electronics are expected to follow in the footsteps of Apple in incorporating direct time-of-flight (dToF) CMOS image sensors (CIS) into their new models in 2021-2022.
Digitimes further noted that sources said non-Apple handset vendors are expected to massively incorporate dToF technology into their new models to be rolled out in first-half 2022, and Sony is likely to re-design its CIS offerings for use in Android-powered handsets while Taiwan's III-V partners will be able to start shipments of VCSEL chips in second-half 2021.