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Wait, what’s a LiDAR sensor and why’s it on the iPhone 12 Pro?

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If you’ve read about autonomous cars, you might know that LiDAR sensors (Light Detection and Ranging) play a huge part in the self-driving part of the car. The job of a LiDAR sensor is to ‘map’ an area surrounding it by measuring distances of objects via reflecting light rays.

Apple introduced the sensor in its high-end iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max flagships to enhance photography. This is not the first time the company is using LiDAR sensor in its products. In March 2020, the Cupertino-based company included the sensor in its new iPad. However, the primary purpose of the sensor in that device was to aid augmented reality.

With the new iPhone, Apple claims that it’ll help you with three things: photo and video effects, precise placement of AR objects, and object and room scanning. The last two applications might be largely for developers and businesses like construction that need to map the room. For an average consumer, photo and video effects might be the most interesting part.

Because LiDAR can work in the dark by shooting lasers to calculate distances, Apple’s using it to improve the autofocus on the high-end iPhones. The company claims that because of the sensor the iPhone 12 Pro phones has 6 times faster autofocus in low light as compared to a normal camera. Plus, the LiDAR sensor enables the device to take better portrait mode photos in low-light conditions.

LiDAR scanner on the iPhone 12 Pro models

The concept of using a dedicated depth sensor is not new. Plenty of mid-range phones such as the OnePlus Nord use a depth sensor camera to enhance portrait mode photos. But these sensors work better in the daylight than low-light. Some devices such as the Huawei P30 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra have a time-of-flight (ToF) sensor. It uses infrared rays to maps the surroundings. You can read about the ToF sensor in our explainer here.

While both ToF and LiDAR can only scan the area up to a few meters in phones, some variants of the latter can measure distances more than 100 meters. However, those are used primarily on top of cars. The advantage of having a LiDAR sensor is that it sends smaller pulse rays from one corner to another to ‘scan’ the area. On the other hand, ToF sensor sends a single flash pulse to measure the area, and that can cause more accuracies when distances are calculated.

Having a LiDAR sensor on a phone will encourage more developers to probably find better uses cases for AR that are more convincing than one-time amusement demos. Snapchat has already confirmed that it’ll ship LiDAR-powered lenses on its iOS app.

Apple might not be able to convince you to buy its high-end modes just on the basis of the LiDAR sensor. However, the company hopes that if you’re an AR developer or someone who cares for quality low-light photos, it could one of the reasons for you to spend a few more dollars.

For more gear, gadget, and hardware news and reviews, follow Plugged on Twitter and Flipboard.

Published October 14, 2020 — 07:02 UTC

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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