2019 iPhone Predictions: Here Are Some of the Likeliest Impending Upgrades

It might fix a big issue.

The iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR are still hot off the presses, but we’re already starting to get hints of what could come next.

So far, reliable rumors have already alleged that next year’s iPhone trio is destined to have 5.8, 6.1, and 6.5-inch displays displays just like the current models. Now, new details have emerged about a potential upgrade coming to one of the phones’ features.

Indeed, while next years iPhones will use the same sized screens, Face ID is expected to get a major update. This improvement should decrease the amount of failed unlocks users experience when they try to access their phone in dark rooms, according to a note by trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo acquired by 9to5Mac

Kuo detailed that Apple will refine a component inside the iPhones’ notches called the flood illuminator, which is supposed to keep natural light from interfering with Face ID. This tiny element projects infrared light to help the TrueDepth camera system track the boundaries of users’ faces.

2019 iPhone Predictions: How Does Face ID Work?

From left to right. The Infrared camera, flood illuminator, and dot projector enable iPhones to detect users' faces.


To detect friend from foe, Face ID uses a “dot projector” to map faces by using 30,000 invisible dots. To ensure bright lights or dark rooms don’t interfere with the mapping process, iPhones X and later use the flood illuminator to send out infrared light that their built-in infrared camera then detects.

Just like in Predator, infrared sensors translate the energy frequency of surfaces into a visible spectrum. The hotter things are, the brighter they’ll seem, which works pretty well because humans have a pretty high body temperature compared to the objects in our rooms or offices.

Once a face has been outlined using infrared light, the dot projector lays out its dots and if they match the iPhone owner’s face it unlocks.

2019 iPhone Predictions: Flood Illuminator Improvements

Improving the flood projector would ensure iPhones get a clear picture of what your face looks like, regardless of lighting.


Kuo does not state exactly how Apple will improve this camera component. But they could simply improve how it shoots out its infrared glare to make sure the camera is able to pick up every nook and cranny of a users’ face.

Though these tweaks sound small, making it easier for users to unlock their phones when they’re positioning their face off-center or in darkened room could make the feature much more helpful in a particularly common setting: Users have often said the feature lets them down when trying to unlock their phone when they wake up in the morning.

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