When the iPhone X arrived in 2017, it was the first iPhone with Face ID. While it was fast, efficient, and secure, and while it gave an unmistakable sense of intimacy—a glance and your phone would unlock when it recognized you—it had its consequences. This was the cutout in which the camera system was located, commonly called the notch. A new report says that the upcoming iPhone may do away with it entirely — a development that almost everyone would welcome, I’d say.
According to The Elec, Apple is working on an under-the-panel location for Face ID technology, which was previously predicted to appear on the iPhone 15 Pro, but which will not come with the iPhone 15, the report claims.
This would likely mean that Apple will try to include it in the following year’s iPhones, almost certainly limiting it to the Pro models at first. In other words, the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max are likely to be the beneficiaries of this technology.
Elec says (translated by Google Translate, though a shorter English version of the post is also available): “Apple is expected to make a big change to the lower-end OLED in the iPhone 15 lineup this year, using ‘Under Panel Face ID’ features that hide Face ID under the screen from next year’s Pro series in the iPhone 16 series. Underpanel Face ID refers to a technology in which Face ID, which is required to recognize the user, looks like a normal display when the feature is not in use.”
In other words, the notch would go to be replaced by a peephole area that would be hard to see when not in use.
However, it’s still not quite full screen because, as the article continues: “In this case, the iPhone 16 Pro series does not see the Face ID hole under the panel when the display is on, but only the hole for the lens for the front camera is visible, which increases a sense of immersion.’
Yes, the front camera lens would still be visible. While some phones, notably the Samsung Galaxy Fold4, have managed to place a regular camera under the display and successfully disguise it, some companies such as Apple are believed to have refrained from this process as the camera quality has dropped as a result.
It’s highly unlikely that Apple would limit the camera’s capabilities in order to aim for the nirvana of a front-facing phone that didn’t interrupt the display at all.
According to The Elec, this is expected to follow: “Apple is expected to bring the under-panel camera (UPC) to the front of the iPhone, following Face ID under the panel. The UPC also has a front camera module mounted below the display, and when the camera function is not in use, the camera lens hole is not visible and the display function is supported. The principle of the underpanel face ID and UPC application is the same.”
In other words, if everything goes smoothly, the notch could be replaced by a visible camera ring, possibly in the iPhone 16 Pro. And who knows, a year or two down the road that too might disappear from view when not in use, leaving us with a truly all-screen iPhone. Finally.
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