September 28, 2022

Robotic Notes

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An insider revealed when the first new iPhone with no notch will launch

4 min read

Apple introduced the infamous notch in 2017 when it debuted the iPhone X. That wasn’t the first phone with a notch, but it was the first to feature 3D face recognition. And those Face ID components sit inside the notch cutout. Apple kept the notch design for three different generations (XR / XS, 11, 12), with the iPhone 13 featuring the first change to the notch. But it’s going to be the iPhone 14 Pro that will deliver a brand new notch design.

Rumors say the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will feature pill-and-hole cutouts in the display. Several purported iPhone 14 schematics seem to confirm claims that only the Pro models are getting the design change. The iPhone 14 and the new “iPhone 14 Max” will have the same notch design as the iPhone 13.

A report earlier this week claimed that the iPhone 15 Pro phones will go one step further. They will feature hole-punch displays with the Face ID components placed under the OLED layer. However, a trusted insider just disputed those claims.

Will the iPhone 14 have a notch?

Early iPhone 14 design rumors said the Pro models will have the 3D face recognition components under the screen. Reports from Korea indicated Apple was already sourcing parts from display vendors. Separately, we saw several distinct patents from Apple that showed the company has been studying ways to include face recognition and fingerprint sensors under the screen.

But then the rumors took a different turn. More and more insiders started detailing a “pill-and-hole” display design for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. The strange notch replacement would reduce the size of the screen cutout.

This new hole-punch design might seem unusual. But having oblong and circular holes sitting side-by-side would also give the iPhone a signature design element that has never been seen before on any other smartphone.

Apple's iPhone 13 notch next to the iPhone 12 notch
Apple’s iPhone 13 notch next to the iPhone 12 notch. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

In 2017, almost everyone in the Android camp copied Apple’s notch without copying the Face ID functionality or the uniform bezel of the iPhone X. Android vendors quickly moved to notch-free designs, as they didn’t have to worry about making room for a sophisticated authentication system.

Fast-forward to 2022, and Apple’s new pill-and-hole notch approach makes sense for the iPhone 14 Pro models.

A new iPhone 15 Pro rumor also popped up in South Korea. The report named Samsung Display as the Apple supplier that will create a new screen technology for placing camera systems under an OLED panel. We told you at the time that the report contradicted recent claims from well-known display analyst Ross Young, CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC).

Now, Young is standing by his firm’s findings.

The new notch design is here to stay

“We reconfirmed again that there is not expected to be under the IR panel for iPhones until 2024, iPhone 16,” Young said. “Gotta start the development and start submitting samples now though.”

In a previous tweet (referenced above), Young hinted that the iPhone 15 models that Apple will launch in 2023 will all feature the same pill-and-hole design as the iPhone 14 Pro. Such a move would certainly make sense for Apple. The company has been reusing iPhone designs for years. And not every new generation gets a design makeover.

A variation of the original iPhone design remained in place until the 2010 iPhone 4 arrived. Apple then used that design until 2014, when the larger iPhone 6 arrived. That design is still available today, eight years later, in the form of the iPhone SE 3.

The iPhone X and the notch display came in 2017. Then, Apple combined elements from the iPhone 4 design language with the iPhone X design to deliver the 2020 iPhone 12 design that was reused on the iPhone 13 last year.

iPhone SE 3 color options.
iPhone SE 3 color options. Image source: Apple

The iPhone 13 represents a fine-tuning of that iPhone 12 design. The iPhone 14 Pro with its new pill-and-hole notch will be another refinement. Keeping the iPhone 12 design in place for the iPhone 15 is also par for the course. As you can see, Apple waits three to four years before dropping a big iPhone design makeover.

But that’s all speculation based on unconfirmed reports. What seems inevitable is that Apple is looking at eliminating the notch completely. Even Young’s new claim implies the notch’s demise is inevitable. But it apparently won’t happen until 2024.

More iPhone coverage: For more iPhone news, visit our iPhone 14 guide.

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