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Now that Apple is set to unveil the iPhone 13 next week, the rumour mill is already turning to what we can expect to see in next year’s “iPhone 14.”
After all, even though it’s not officially out yet, it’s fair to say we know almost everything that’s coming to this year’s new iPhone lineup, so it’s time to set sights on the even more significant changes we could see next year.
We’ve already heard bits and pieces about Apple’s iPhone plans for 2022, but now leaker Jon Prosser is tying them all together and adding some new renders that provide insights into what next year’s iPhone will actually look like.
While the iPhone 13 is expected to basically mimic the design of its predecessors, with only slight changes to the camera bump and front notch, it looks like the “iPhone 14” could do away with both of those things entirely.
According to Front Page Tech, the notch will finally disappear entirely from the iPhone in 2022, being replaced instead with a punch-hole-style camera.
Similarly, Apple also apparently plans to eliminate the camera bump entirely from the rear of the new iPhone models, although it’s not yet clear exactly how it will accomplish that.
Prosser indicates that he has only seen leaked images of the “iPhone 14 Pro Max” specifically, and has no insight into the engineering or technology behind these design changes. It’s also unknown if Apple plans to bring some of these changes to the entire lineup or only to the “Pro” models.
Moving to a ‘Punch-Hole’ Camera
Veteran Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported back in March that Apple was working on moving its TrueDepth camera system into a “punch-hole” design, but was unsure whether it would only come to the iPhone Pro models.
At the time, Kuo said that Apple wants to bring it to the entire lineup if it can source and produce enough components to pull it off, but that it would prioritize it for the higher-end models if not.
It’s also not clear how Face ID would work in such a configuration, since that relies on multiple components that make up the TrueDepth camera system. It’s possible that Apple may be able to move some of those components under the display, like rival smartphone makers have been doing.
Even though this has proven to be a questionable idea for full camera systems, it’s possible it could work for some of the TrueDepth camera’s sensors.
We’ve also heard reports that Apple is working on a unibody lens for the “iPhone 14” which would allow Apple to fit the front-camera components into a smaller space.
No Rear Camera Bump
The lack of a rear camera bump is a bit more surprising, particularly considering that other rumours suggest Apple could be working toward a 48MP 8K camera system, which would presumably require larger components, not smaller ones.
Although Apple could increase the thickness of the iPhone to match the camera bump, which is what Prosser suggests it’s going to do, the company has generally shown a reluctance to do things like that.
It could, however, take advantage of the periscope lens technology that analysts say it’s working on to allow camera components to be fitting in line with the casing, rather than perpendicular to it.
A Throwback to the iPhone 4
While the iPhone 12 clearly borrowed its design from the iPhone 5 era, Prosser’s info suggests that next year’s iPhone could go back even farther into the past, with a nostalgic design that’s reminiscent of the iPhone 4.
This would include round volume buttons and mesh speaker grilles, plus a sandwiched design that puts the glass front and back on top of the metal band, rather than flush with it. He also suggests that the new band will be made of titanium.
If all of this is true, the 2022 iPhone could be one of the most elegant designs to come out of Apple in years. The original iPhone 4 had a museum-piece quality to it that’s been lost in an era of notched fronts and ever-increasing camera bumps. Luxury designers have replicated some of this on expensive custom iPhones, but even these don’t do justice to the simple and clean aesthetic of the classic iPhone 4.