Get ready for your selfies to have a little more pop on Snapchat. Today, the company is introducing 3D Camera Mode, a new feature which lets you take Snaps that can change perspective and appearance as you move your smartphone around. To make this effect happen, Snapchat is taking advantage of Apple's TrueDepth camera system, which the Cupertino firm uses for features such as Face ID and Animojis. Naturally, this means the new 3D Camera Mode only works for Snapchatters with an iPhone X and above, although these three-dimensional Snaps can be viewed by anyone on the app. So, if you have an Android phone, you can enjoy your friends' 3D selfies, you just can't create any of your own.
Snapchat told Engadget that, over time, it will support different camera sensors and Android devices -- but there's no timeline for when that's going to happen. If you do have a compatible iPhone, however, you can now start making your selfies feel more lively: As shown in the GIF above and video below, Snapchat's 3D Camera Mode will give you the ability to use its 3D Effects, 3D Lenses and 3D Filters, which you can then post to your Stories, share in chat or even save to your camera roll. And while the feature only works with the iPhone's front-facing camera right now, you'll also be able to capture 3D content with Snapchat's upcoming Spectacles 3 smart glasses.
As far as the technology goes, Snapchat says it is leveraging Apple's TrueDepth Camera to take a high-quality image and then use depth data to reconstruct a 3D model that looks and feels like a mini diorama of what the iPhone's camera has seen. That's what allows you to rotate and wiggle your smartphone to get that 3D effect on selfie Snaps. With more than 203 million people using Snapchat on a daily basis, the company says, its hope is that this 3D Camera Mode will let them add a new layer of expression and interactivity to static images.
When it comes to augmented reality and three-dimensional effects, it's no secret that Snapchat has been pushing the envelope for years now -- and this is just the latest example of that. Now we'll have to see how long it takes Instagram, Snapchat's bitter rival, to come up with something similar. You know it's only a matter of time before that happens.