We’ve heard rumors from reliable leakers like Ming-Chi Kuo suggesting how Apple plans to lose the notch next year and we know of two possible ways to achieve this: under-display Touch ID or Face ID.
Embedding the front-facing camera into the screen could even be another possibility, but that, more likely, will be a later development.
Just this last Sunday, in the latest edition of Mark Gurman’s “Power On,” he pointed towards Face ID coming to Macs in the next few years.
According to Apple, the current iPhone design has the imaging sensor next to the display, rather than part of it, though the notch design does somewhat give the impression of it being part of the screen.
“Typically, an imaging sensor is positioned below the protective cover, adjacent to the display stack. As such, a conventional electronic device incorporating both a display stack and an imaging sensor typically requires a large-area protective cover that extends beyond the periphery of the display stack in order to reserve space to accommodate the imaging sensor. This conventional construction undesirably increases the apparent size of a bezel region circumscribing the display, while also undesirably increasing the size and volume of the housing of the electronic device.“– Apple
Embedding an image sensor into the display in order to read a fingerprint – or embedded Touch ID – is the main focus of this patent.
Patently Apple, the publication who spotted this, goes on to detail Apple’s patent through this diagram:
FIG. 1A below depicts an electronic device that can incorporate a display stack suitable for through-display imaging (camera under display); FIG. 1B depicts a simplified block diagram of the electronic device of FIG. 1A showing various operational and structural components that can be included in an electronic device configured to through-display imaging.
Apple’s patent FIG. 6A above depicts an iPhone incorporating a display stack with a locally-increased inter-pixel transmittance; FIG. 6B depicts a MacBook incorporating a display stack with a locally-increased inter-pixel transmittance supporting an under-display camera.
Having both Face ID and Touch ID embedded into the display would be a way to make everyone happy, and it would also mean that Face ID could be embedded into Mac displays too, losing the need for them to have a wider bezel or notch. This would go back to Gurmmy’s Sunday report about Face ID coming to Macs.
A longer-term solution could also be for the front-facing camera to be embedded into the display. That’s unlikely, however, considering earlier attempts resulted in significantly degraded image quality with inaccurate white balance, low contrast, and haze. However, that’s less of a barrier for Face ID, so it’s likely we’ll see that first.
Alas, it’s still early times in the iPhone 14 rumor mill and it’s worth pointing out that Apple patents all kinds of sh*t that never sees the light of day.