Apple may be gearing up to slim down and then completely remove the notch from iPhones over the next two years.
First, reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is out with a new research note today via Chinese website MyDrivers in which he claims that at least one new iPhone in 2020 will be equipped with a smaller front camera lens for an improved screen-to-bezel ratio, suggesting the notch will be slimmer.
Second, the China Times cites an analyst at investment firm Credit Suisse in Asia who believes Apple plans to release one new iPhone model without a notch or Face ID in 2020. The analyst claims the iPhone will instead feature an under-screen front camera and full-screen acoustic fingerprint authentication, which sounds like a version of Touch ID that would work anywhere on the iPhone’s display.
The analyst believes all three new iPhones will be notch-less in 2021, completing the transition to under-screen front cameras and full-screen fingerprint authentication. The report claims Apple is likely to develop its own under-screen fingerprinting technology rather than rely on a third-party provider.
Together, these rumors paint the following timeline:
- 2019: Three new iPhones with Face ID and no changes to notch
- 2020: Two new iPhones with Face ID and slimmer notches, one new notch-less iPhone with full-screen fingerprint authentication
- 2021: Three new notch-less iPhones with full-screen fingerprint authentication
Just last week, a report claimed that Apple plans to launch a new iPhone with under-screen fingerprint technology, but the report suggested the device will be limited to the budget-conscious Chinese market, with the under-screen fingerprint technology thought to cost less than Face ID sensors.
Likewise, following meetings with suppliers in Apple’s Asian supply chain in May, Barclays analysts claimed that 2020 iPhone models will have acoustic fingerprint technology that could allow for full-screen Touch ID.
The notch has been a controversial design decision since it debuted on the iPhone X in 2017, and it has always felt like a stopgap on the way to an iPhone with a truly edge-to-edge display, so these rumors certainly have some plausibility. However, these reports should still be viewed with some skepticism until they are corroborated by other sources. It is also early, so these plans could change.
The possibility of a notch-less iPhone does look increasingly promising. In January, for example, Apple supplier AMS launched new under-screen ambient light and proximity sensors, while Chinese smartphone makers Oppo and Xiaomi have recently showcased smartphones with under-screen front cameras.
Samsung has so far taken a different approach to avoid the notch, with its Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ smartphones featuring circular and pill-shaped front camera cutouts respectively in the top-right corner of the display.
Apple’s exact approach if any remains to be seen, but it is certainly starting to sound like the notch might not be around for too much longer.