It's widely expected that iPhone 13 will have a new design with a reduced-size notch when it appears at the Apple Event on September 14th. Of course, plenty of people are impatient for Apple to move past the notch completely, and were hopeful that 2021 would be the year.
It looks like the iPhone 14 in 2022 could make their dreams come true, though – as more leakers and insiders are starting to claim that Apple will move to an under-screen Face ID system, with perhaps a hole-punch camera reminiscent of the best Android phones.
That's via MacRumors (opens in new tab), with a claimed leak from a prominent display analyst that matches up with information gleaned from regular leak obtainer Jon Prosser.
The suggestion is that the iPhone 14 Pro is being tested for an under-screen Face ID system, with the regular iPhone 14 models to keep the notch. The leak suggests that Apple thinks that under-screen cameras aren't up to Apple's standards yet, but the Face ID system could work fine hidden behind the pixels.
That sounds consistent with Apple's usual MO. Apple tends to be either first with new tech because it's been able to develop it better, or comes a bit later than others because it doesn't want the compromises that early tech versions often have.
Under-screen cameras aren't as good as regular cameras yet. Our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 review bemoans this very fact – it includes the first one from Samsung, and it's grainy and weak. So Apple isn't going to be putting one in unless and until those problems go away. But the Face ID system doesn't need high image quality, because it's just scanning infrared dots that have been projected onto your face – so maybe that can go under the screen, assuming it doesn't affect accuracy (which is presumably what Apple is testing).
That leaves Apple free to get rid of the notch, which is only the size it is because it contains an infrared dots projector and camera for Face ID, as well as the regular front camera. The camera can become a little hole-punch offering, and the anti-notch hordes will finally be satisfied.
Well, in theory, according to this leak. It does make sense that Apple might only introduce it on the Pro version when it appears – it's very unlikely that Apple would make the notch smaller in iPhone 13 and then only use that new design for one year.
At this stage, it's all just speculation anyway, ultimately – all these leaked plans may be true now, but there's time for Apple to change its mind about iPhone 14. But if the iPhone 13 design disappoints, at least you'll have hope that next year will offer something different.