It is something that is being rumored for some time already, that the iPhone 14 range will sport a hole and pill cut-out that will replace the notch that has been present on all iPhone models since the iPhone X that was introduced back in 2017. The industry analyst Ross Young at Display Supply Chain Consultants too is of the view that Apple would be adopting a new design for the iPhone 14 range, one that would see the accommodation of the Face ID sensors and the front camera within the pill cut-out and the hole.
However, while that might come across as a welcome change considering that the notch has already started to become boring, the hole and pill cut-out design approach is also being seen as controversial as the same will eventually pan out to be almost as extensive as the notch is. Also, the same will only be present on the higher-end iPhone Pro and the Pro Max models while the base iPhone will continue with the same notch design, albeit a smaller one as seen on the iPhone 13.
The analyst, meanwhile, is also of the view that the same design will make it to the iPhone 15 range as well due out in 2023. Maybe this time the design won’t be exclusive to only the higher end iPhone version but will be standard across the entire range as well. However, the pill and hole design might be smaller on the iPhone 15 range compared to what it will likely be on the iPhone 14. Maybe the difference ins size is going to be the same as that of the notch on the iPhone 13 and its predecessor.
Further, Ross Young also stated that the subsequent iPhone models will come to have the Face ID elements placed underneath the front display. This will negate the need to have an elaborate cutout for the same. Instead, there is going to be a single hole for the selfie cam unless Apple hits upon something to place the selfie cam as well underneath the front display. This, if true, will make the future iPhone devices have a clean and uncluttered look.
That said, an under-display Face ID tech still poses considerable challenges which include redesigning the panel afresh so that the sensors are still able to perform to the desired levels of accuracy even when operating from behind a wall of glass and other layers. According to Ross, the biggest challenge will be to replace the Yb/MgAg cathode above the OLED stack given that the same isn’t transmissive enough in the IR range. As it is, the OLED structure comprises of the following layers from top to bottom – cathode, electron transport layer, blocking layer, an emissive layer, hole transport layer, hole injection layer, anode, and substrate at the very bottom.
As already stated, all of it poses significant design challenges so that all of it isn’t expected to be ready by 2023. Even expecting the same to make its debut on the iPhone 15 could be a tall ask, if not overtly impossible.