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The 2020 iPad Pro Could Get this Killer Feature Before the iPhone

If you've been following the latest iPhone rumors then you might have seen speculation around a new laser-aided 3D camera coming to the 2020 model. Now a report from South Korea's The Elec (via BGR) claims that a time-to-flight camera will first arrive on the iPad Pro in March 2020. 

According to Elec, the 2020 iPad Pro will break the tradition of iPads adopting iPhone features by being the first Apple product with a time-of-flight camera. What makes this camera so special is that it can determine how far away objects are in a room and use that depth information to improve image quality, as well as virtual and augmented reality experiences. 

Apple has continued to push augmented reality across its devices and it's even rumored that the A13 CPU expected to power the 2019 iPad Pro will have an "AMX" co-processor that will handle computer vision and AR.  

The 3D sensing module will start being mass-produced by South Korean supplier Derkwoo Electronics sometime later this year. If Elec's timeline is correct and the 2020 iPad Pro is released in March, then the tablet would receive this feature six months before the 2020 iPhone is released. 

Before you get too excited, there appear to be conflicting reports about when the next iPad Pro will be released. A recent Bloomberg article claims that Apple is just weeks away from unveiling a 10.2-inch iPad Pro (we expect them to arrive in October).

It would unusual for Apple to debut a new version just five or six months later. Also, Apple typically introduces new features to its iPhones before any other product, not the other way around. However, Apple does tend to reveal AR tech on its iPads, so it's not possible that the capabilities of the time-to-flight camera are better demonstrated on a tablet. 

Regardless, you should take these rumors with a grain of salt --- but not be surprised if a laser-aided 3D camera ends up on an iPhone and iPad sometime next year.

Phillip Tracy is a senior writer at Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he reviews laptops and covers the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News and NewBay Media. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, listening to indie music or watching soccer.