Now according to a report from Fast Company, it seems that Apple's upcoming iPhone 8 could actually contain hardware related to augmented reality. The report further states that Apple has bought vertical-cavity-surface-emitting-laser components for use with the VCSEL system expected on the phone. For the uninitiated, early reports regarding iPhone 8 hints that Apple would be moving the TouchID to the back of the smartphone in order to fit in a larger display with thin bezels in front. Today's report explains that it's up to the "progress Apple engineers make in integrating the laser system into the phone" and that it could come this year or it could come next year. Right now, ARKit apps rely only on the single iPhone camera to picture and measure the real world into which digital content is placed. The addition of a 3D laser system would dramatically improve these measurements, making AR more realistic. It does this by calculating how long it takes for the imperceptible light to travel from your phone, to the target object, and back.
This adds more to the confusion related to the final elements to be seen on the iPhone 8 rear panel. The source suggests that the main issue in this case is integrated the laser system into the iPhone, rather than the system itself. Laser beams bounce off objects and return to the sensor providing the precise depth of field for each.
Current iPhones use another kind of autofocus called phase detection autofocus, which was introduced with the iPhone 6 in 2014 under the name "Focus Pixels". Whereas for camera tech, the lens can better focus on a specific aspect of the filed of view.
The Fast Company report is significant because it indicates Apple wants its 2017 flagship phone to offer even more AR oomph. Also, the authenticity of this information as questionable since it comes from unofficial sources. The TOF sensor is coming from STMicro, Infineon, or AMS; although, it's likely Apple will buy the whole system in module form from LG, STMicro, AMS or Foxconn.