Developers find iPad Pro’s LiDAR currently unsuitable for photo apps

Developers find iPad Pro’s LiDAR currently unsuitable for photo apps
Editor at TechForge Media. Often sighted at global tech conferences with a coffee in one hand and laptop in the other. If it's geeky, I'm probably into it.

The photography experts behind the Halide Camera app have found the iPad Pro’s new LiDAR Scanner to be lacking and unsuitable for software like their own.

In a detailed analysis, the Halide developers had the following to say about the LiDAR Sensor:

“The LIDAR sensor, also known as a 3D ‘Time of Flight’ sensor (ToF for short) is a sensor that is exceptionally good at detecting range.

Regular camera sensors are good at focused images, in color. The LIDAR sensor doesn’t do anything like this. It emits small points of light, and as they bounce off your surroundings, it times how long it took the light to come back.

This sounds crazy, but it’s timing something moving at the speed of light. This window of time that amount to hundreds of picoseconds. Pico? Yes, pico — that’s an order of magnitude smaller than nanoseconds! A picosecond is 0.000000000001 seconds. Count the zeros.”

Among the other issues highlighted by Halide’s developers about the LiDAR Sensor is the absence of APIs which allow them to access depth data.

Halide’s developers were similarly critical about the iPad Pro’s new ultra-wide camera:

“The iPhone 11 and 11 Pro pack a significantly larger (and better) sensor with its wide-angle camera, compared to iPad. The ultra-wide sensor on iPhone is comparable to the ultra-wide on iPad in quality, but the iPad is lower resolution.

It appears the hardware just isn’t there to support night mode, Deep Fusion, and even portrait mode.”

While the cameras in iPads rarely match the latest iPhones, Halide’s developers say the new system in Apple’s latest tablet is comparable to the iPhone 8.

The developers note that while the iPad Pro’s latest additions can’t yet “augment our traditional photography,” the LiDAR Scanner in particular opens up “new applications that are powerful and creativity-enabling in their own right.”

You can find the full analysis from Halide here.

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