Apple details new photo and video hardware on iPhone 12 Pro

Apple unveils the new iPhone 12 and other products during a virtual event on Tuesday, Oct. 13. It’s been called “the most significant iPhone event in years.” Subscribe to CNBC PRO for access to investor and analyst insights on Apple and more:

Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max feature a new lidar sensor on the back. This was first introduced on the iPad Pro in March and is used for augmented reality (AR), which Apple has been pushing pretty hard in recent years.

Augmented reality allows you to drop digital items on top of the real world that you can see through the screen of your phone. I used it on the 2020 iPad Pro to plop some digital furniture in a nursery I was building to make sure it all fit before I bought it. It’s also good for measuring stuff.

The lidar sensor is easier and faster than a regular camera when you need to scan a room. It starts immediately, instead of taking a few seconds for your camera to scan.

But, Apple said it’s also using lidar in the iPhone to improve focus. It can cut down focus times in low-light scenes by up to 6x, Apple said. That means better low-light portrait shots, too. Portrait pictures are the kind that blur the background of a subject and add a professional look to your pictures.

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