The notch has been one of Apple’s most controversial (but widely imitated) design decisions in recent memory. But several new reports this week suggest that the notch’s days are numbered.
Apple is reportedly working to make the notch smaller over the next couple of years before getting rid of it entirely, according to a handful of varying reports this week. Here’s what you should know.
Apple’s Rumored Notch-Less Future
A notch-less iPhone isn’t going to appear overnight. Instead, it appears that Apple is going to start slowly phasing out the physical housing for the TrueDepth camera.
Well-connected TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo forecasted on Wednesday that Apple is going to make at least one iPhone in 2020 with a slimmed-down notch. Or, more specifically, an iPhone with a smaller front-facing camera for a better screen-to-bezel ratio.
Additionally, The China Times reports that Apple may make even more drastic notch-related moves in the following years. The publication cites a Credit Suisse analyst who believes that Apple is going to release at least one iPhone without Face ID or a notch in 2020.
That analyst goes on to claim that all three iPhones in 2021 will lack a notch. Interestingly, the report alleges that that trio of devices will also lack Face ID — instead opting for a full-screen fingerprint scanner and an under-display front-facing camera.
Is Face ID Going Away?
The one quirk to an otherwise believable report is the fact that the Credit Suisse claims that Apple is killing off Face ID. That doesn’t seem very likely, given how much effort Apple has put into positioning it as much more secure than Touch ID.
To put it another way, it seems uncharacteristic that Apple would take a step backward and go with an authentication system that’s, in its view, less secure.
This does not mean that future iPhones will only stick with Face ID. An iPhone could very well have both Touch ID and Face ID — a combination that would offer a suite of benefits to users. Apple has even hinted at this possibility in its own patent applications.
The problem with that idea thus far, of course, is that Apple appears to be unwilling to sacrifice screen-to-bezel ratio for a fingerprint scanner. And it’ll probably never put a fingerprint scanner on the rear of an iPhone.
A Likely Scenario
All of this is to say that Apple isn’t going to reverse course. A notch-less iPhone may be coming, but the company probably won’t sacrifice Face ID or an edge-to-edge display to add it. But there could be a solution.
For one, Apple is said to be developing its own under-display fingerprint scanner (rather than relying on a third-party component). The first under-display fingerprint scanner could show up in a 2020 iPhone, according to Barclays. But that device may be restricted to the Chinese market.
And even without a notch, Apple could still implement advanced facial recognition into its iPhones. Just look at recent Android flagships with under-display cameras. Or consider the fact that Apple supplier AMS just recently launched under-display light and proximity sensors.
So while it’s too early to place any firm bets, it’s looking increasingly likely that Apple could debut a notch-less iPhone with both Face ID and Touch ID under the display sometime in the future. While the notch is here to stay for at least a couple more years, that probably won’t be the case forever.