The iPhone X’s sensor notch is a contentious issue. Some people love it, others hate it, and many are ambivalent. But while the notch is likely here to stay for the time being, Apple may be exploring making it smaller in future iPhones.
Apple is reportedly “looking into” combining the TrueDepth infrared camera with the standard front-facing camera module on next year’s iPhone, according to industry sources cited in a Tuesday report by ET News. Such a design move could, presumably, allow for a smaller sensor housing, and in turn, a smaller notch on the 2019 lineup of devices.
Of course, the ET News report is a bit confusing in that it mentions a singular face recognition module combined with a camera. But Apple’s TrueDepth system uses a variety of sensors, including a dot projector, infrared camera and flood illuminator, so it isn’t clear how Apple would embed these components into a singular and smaller module.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that the “notch,” as it’s widely known, is controversial. While many iPhone X users have gotten used to the design decision, others have expressed criticism for it. Joshua Topolsky, a writer for The Outline, just plainly wrote it is “bad design.” In his opinion, Apple should have stuck with slim top bezels.
Face ID Plans
But love it or hate it, Apple seems to be sticking to its guns for the near future. The company’s new Face ID biometric system is expected to make it to the entire iPhone lineup this year, according to a 2017 report by well-connected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Some reports predict that 2018’s iPad Pro devices will also adopt the advanced facial recognition platform.
Unless Apple somehow changes its design parameters for Face ID, it’s likely that the notch design will become the standard display silhouette for all iPhones this year. It’s currently unknown whether Apple will use the “notch” in an iPad Pro, but the company could probably avoid it thanks to the tablet’s larger display area.
LG TrueDepth Production
In addition to the tidbit about a smaller notch, ET News also reported that LG Innotek is planning on investing in additional production lines for face recognition modules for Apple.
LG Innotek is believed to become one of the primary component suppliers for the iPhone X’s facial recognition module. The firm recently announced a $821 million investment into camera manufacturing facilities, and although it didn’t cite Apple as its primary client, the evidence certainly points toward Cupertino as the primary motivation.
Interestingly, ET News’ source claims that the LG Innotek investments are for products released in 2019, not this year. Still, Apple is largely expected to expand Face ID to its entire iPhone lineup this year — so it’s likely that LG Innotek will play a part even without its expanded production capabilities.