Apple’s upcoming iPhones and iPads will likely have much smaller notches than their predecessors thanks to a greatly reduced Face ID chip.
This is according to a report from Digitimes, which stated that the company has decided to scale down the die size of its VCSEL chips used in 3D Face ID sensors by 40-50%.
The smaller chips will help Apple cut down on production costs of new devices set to be launched later in 2021.
Digitimes often gets information from well-placed sources within the semiconductor manufacturing industry in Taiwan, where it is based.
Its report follows the leaking of images in March of what was claimed to be an iPhone 13 screen protector, which indicated the width of the notch had been reduced substantially.
Despite significant advancements in hardware and other design elements, Apple has stuck with the current notch since the iPhone X.
The reason for this is simple – aside from the front camera itself, the notch contains a wide array of advanced hardware which is used for, among others, highly accurate biometric authentication.
Whereas most other smartphone brands have fingerprint recognition as their most secure biometric login method, Apple’s Face ID is their primary form of biometric security, allowing users to simply look at the smartphone and have it unlock quickly by scanning their face.
Although many Android smartphones also have the option of using facial recognition, these are not as advanced as Apple’s.
The image below shows the components contained within the iPhone’s notch.
Meanwhile, manufacturers like Samsung and Huawei have in recent years rolled out flagship and midrange devices with increasingly thinner bezels, under-display fingerprint readers, and hole-punch front cameras.
This has helped boost their overall screen-to-body ratio, providing a larger and less interrupted viewing experience.
ZTE has taken it a step further with the Axon 5G smartphone, which has its selfie camera hidden under the display.
It uses a special small low-resolution one-way square panel above the camera to let it peer through the display.
Oppo and Xiaomi have also been experimenting with the technology, while Samsung plans to bring its own version first to its notebooks.
Renowned Apple leaker Ming-Chi Kuo has claimed that Apple is working on similar tech for the iPhone.
Kuo said Apple was expected to have its under-display Face ID ready by 2023, meaning we could see iPhones without notches in two years’ time.
Other reports have suggested that Apple will release a new budget iPhone SE in 2023 which uses a hole-punch camera without Face ID support.
Instead, it will offer an under-display fingerprint reader for Touch ID authentication.