Impressive design model coming up on the iPhone 14 pro: Following the adoption of the iconic notch on the iPhone X, Apple is likely to shift away from the design with the iPhone 14 Pro models, which are said to feature a pill-shaped and hole-punch cutout on the front display.
According to Display Supply Chain Consultants analyst Ross Young, Apple is expected to abandon its distinctive notch in 2022 in favor of a design that features both a pill-shaped hole for Face ID sensors and a hole-punch for the front-facing camera.
Beginning in 2022, Apple is expected to deploy the new design on its iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models.
“The pill + hole design is almost as broad as the notch but will surely save some pixels above the holes,” Young stated, adding that “the pill + hole design is nearly as large as the notch but will certainly save some pixels above the holes.”
Apple is expected to implement the pill-shape and hole-punch across all four models in 2023, according to DSCC, with the iPhone 15 series. Young also mentioned that the pill and hole “could grow smaller” in 2023, but it’s unclear how much smaller Apple might make them.
In the future, the analyst expects Apple will replace the basic Face ID unit with under-display face authentication, which would relocate all of the essential Face ID hardware behind the display and eliminate the need for a visible hole on the front.
Young commented, “This does require panel revision for Face ID to work at high accuracy.” “Perhaps the most essential area is changing the traditional Yb/MgAg cathode on top of the OLED stack, which is not particularly transmissive in IR areas,” says the researcher.
Patterning the cathode materials, employing a transparent cathode, or leveraging backside laser drilling are some possible solutions to the problem. Young believes that cathode patterning will be the “preferred option,” and he has heard that one supplier has been qualified for mass production using this method.
However, the under-display Face ID is unlikely to be completed in time for 2023 manufacturing.
Companies have told Young that they don’t anticipate the under-display Face ID to appear in 2023 at all, which might be due to coordination issues between the display and sensor teams.
Young isn’t the first person to foresee a hole-punch and pill design for an impending iPhone. After prior speculations hinted that Apple may employ one or the other, he made the forecast in January.