The latest iPhone models (iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, and iPhone 11 Pro Max) feature a lidar sensor. This is a new type of sensor that uses light to measure distance. lidar sensors work by projecting a laser beam onto a surface and measuring the time it takes for the beam to bounce back. This information is then used to create a 3D model of the area.
Lidar sensors have a number of uses, but one of the most interesting is 3D mapping. By scanning a space with a lidar sensor, it's possible to create a highly accurate 3D model of that space. This is useful for a number of applications, such as creating virtual reality experiences, or for measuring the dimensions of a room.
The lidar sensor on the iPhone is used for a few different features. One is to measure the depth of a scene, which is helpful for augmented reality applications. It can also be used to automatically focus the camera, and to improve the quality of Portrait mode photos.