The existing notch is already very technologically advanced for its small size.
According to Patently Apple, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has published a patent application that appears to demonstrate how Apple could do away with the notch in the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max in favor of a pill-shaped cutout and a location for the selfie camera (via 9to5Mac).
The gadget described in the patent application comprises a camera, an infrared light transmitter, and a “light folding element” that can bend IR light into different configurations. The application explains how a light-folded projector can be used to minimize the footprint of these parts, so freeing up more phone display space.
A selfie camera, an infrared camera, a depth sensor, and a dot projector are among the technologies currently housed in the notch, which Apple previously reduced by 20% with the iPhone 13 series last year. However, Apple claims in one patent that it can arrange parts of that technology such that it may reduce the size of the notch.
If you’re interested, you can read an excerpt of the description surrounding the patent claims below (you can also browse the application at the conclusion of this article):
“For instance, the IR light emitter may not necessarily be restricted to a particular installation position because the light folding element can alter the transmission direction of the IR light. Instead, the IR light emitter could be positioned in a less confined area and directed in a particular direction using a light folding device.
This may result in a smaller notch for holding the imaging and sensing component and a larger display area for the device by reducing the size of the imaging and sensing components as a whole.”
However, the USPTO’s publication of this application does not imply that the technology will be included into an Apple product. However, there have been a few other hints that suggest the notch region for the upcoming Pro iPhones may be drastically modified.
The best proof could be that Apple would be switching to the pill-shaped cutout and hole punch selfie cam, according to Apple whisperer Mark Gurman. Just days before the iPhone 13 reached shop shelves, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also reported on an iPhone 14 with no notch. But as noted by MacRumors, certain Twitter accounts that have a history of leaking phone information have lately published some intriguing new pictures that might demonstrate how the new notch area appears on actual phones.
Prior to Apple’s official announcement, Twitter user “DuanRui” tweeted images of the iPhone 12 Mini. He also uploaded images of what seems to be an iPhone 14 Pro’s selfie camera punch hole and pill cutout. Take these with a grain of salt; DuanRui claims that much of his content is re-posted from Chinese social media, so it’s not obvious where they came from, but at the very least, the photographs provide a glimpse of what the alleged new design might resemble.
Furthermore, Ice Universe published a picture of what they called a “iPhone 14 Pro dummy.” There are two distinct holes in the middle of the pill in this image, which suggests a little design variation from the pictures DuanRui published.
Fortunately, it won’t be long before we learn whether Apple is genuinely altering the notch and, if so, what the outcome would be. On September 7th, the business will have its upcoming product presentation, during which it is anticipated that the whole iPhone 14 series would be unveiled.