Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge
Rumors for Apple’s upcoming 2022 iPhone refresh are continuing to roll, with Twitter leaker DylanDKT claiming that the iPhone 14 Pro lineup will feature a pill-shaped hole-punch design for its front-facing camera, with the bulk of Apple’s Face ID hardware being placed under the display (instead of an eyesore of a notch).
The report corroborates earlier rumors from well-regarded Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from late last year, which also claimed that the 2022 iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max would be shifting over to a hole-punch cutout for the camera.
I am able to corroborate information regarding a hole punch camera for the pro models of the iPhone 14. Face ID hardware will be placed under the display. As a reassurance to any concerns, the functionality of these sensors have not been negatively affected by this change.
— Dylan (@dylandkt) January 6, 2022
Apple made its first major change to the iPhone’s Face ID notch with last year’s iPhone 13 lineup, which featured a slightly smaller notch than the original design that Apple had used since 2017’s iPhone X.
And moving the Face ID array beneath the screen while keeping a cutout does make a lot of sense: Face ID’s IR-based setup would be less impacted by the haziness and weak colors that exist for current under-display front-facing cameras, and reducing the iPhone 14 Pro’s notch to a smaller cutout would put Apple back on even footing with Android competitors, who have long since left Apple’s oversized notch in the dust with years of diminutive camera cutout designs.
That said, it seems that Apple might be looking to the slimmed-down notch as a design differentiator between the pricier iPhone 14 Pro lineup and the standard iPhone 14 models, which are said to be keeping the existing Face ID notch.
Additionally, it seems that Apple’s under-display ambitions will still only extend to the Face ID camera array: Kuo’s late 2021 report claimed that Apple’s long-rumored plans to bring back its Touch ID sensor in the form of an under-display fingerprint scanner won’t happen until 2023 at the earliest.
DylanDKT also claims that Apple will be released an updated iPhone SE model in 2022, which will keep the same broad design as the current 2020 SE but add 5G and improved specs. Meanwhile, a foldable iPhone is still said to be in the prototyping phase, with Apple reportedly “playing the long game to see how the technology progresses” before it commits to a consumer device — a claim that’s also in line with Kuo’s earlier reports.