Apple looks poised to place the letter "i" on the front of the next generation iPhone, if reports are true. The iPhone 14 may shed its famous notch at the top of the screen for a different configuration of sensor cutouts. The so-called "hole-punch and pill" design has been leaked through purported schematics (above) and a photo of a screen component from behind. Rumors indicate Apple is moving away from a full notch design but still needs to accommodate a long list of sensors in front of the iPhone 14. Unless these can be placed behind the display, the cutouts are needed for functions such as Face ID.
The components packed behind the iPhone notch include the following:
- Ambient light sensor
- Dot projector/flood illuminator
- Front facing FaceTime camera
- Infrared camera
- Proximity sensor
For this reason, fitting everything into a single "hole punch" in the display is not possible. Not only this, but placing components behind the screen presents a difficult engineering problem.
The notch was 20 percent smaller in the iPhone 13 compared to previous models, however it was also a different shape. Apple may be seeking to further shrink the footprint of the cutouts by removing the square notch in favor of obscuring the screen only where needed. Allegedly the photo below shows a preview of the hole-punch and pill from the back side of the iPhone 14 screen.The iPhone 14 is expected to launch in two different screen sizes, with 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch models. iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max versions are likely, with only the Pro models getting the new hole-punch and pill layout. The standard iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max may keep the current notch design.
Multiple Apple analysts including the oft quoted Ming-Chi Kuo have pointed to changes in the notch design in the works for later this year. The iPhone 14 lineup is expected to debut in September 2022.