Pondering the possibilities of dual cameras on future iMacs

Last week, Apple previewed some future hardware offerings. There's an updated Mac Pro in the pipeline for sometime in 2018 or after, as well as a new iMac scheduled for “this year.” Some pundits are already referring to the 2017 iMac as the iMac Pro. Even Apple itself said the new iMacs would cater to the needs of professional users.

There are many upgrades possible to make the new iMac worthy of the “pro” title. There will certainly be CPU, memory, and GPU upgrades. There have been rumors that Apple may include the Touch Bar found on some 2016 MacBook Pros into a standalone keyboard for the iMac.

One possible upgrade to make the 2017 iMacs even more "pro" would be dual cameras on top of the display (see mockup at top of page). Dual cameras would make 3D facial recognition possible, and could even be used to capture 3D video. Not only could our FaceTime chats take on a deeper, richer experience, but 3D capture could help those who have difficulty interacting with their computers.

Dual cameras could more easily track eye and facial gestures allowing for much more precise input for those who need this type of interaction. A whole new way to interact with the iMac would be possible.

Perhaps users could hold an object in front of the cameras, and the iMac could scan it and recognize what we are holding. Even better, perhaps the dual camera setup could be used as a 3D scanner of sorts through the use of structured light scanning.

Gesture interaction like that available from third parties (Leap Motion comes to mind) would be possible. Apple has strongly stated there will not be a touchscreen on the iMac, and I agree with this decision. To reach up and touch the screen would be tiresome and a hindrance to the experience. 3D gesture interaction would be much less of a problem as one’s hands could be at or just above the keyboard to manipulate objects on the screen or input to the system with gestures.

Apple only recently introduced dual cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus. I think we will soon see dual cameras on the Mac that could open up a whole new world with the way we can interact with our computers.