Apple could say goodbye to the iPhone's notch with the help of this patent

Apple could say goodbye to the iPhone's notch with the help of this patent
Apple hasn’t made any changes to its notch since it was first introduced two years but that doesn’t mean it won’t eventually be removed. The company is actively researching potential replacements and a new patent hints at what may be planned.

In-display technology is key for future advancements


Unearthed by the folks over at Apple Insider, the Cupertino giant was granted a patent earlier today by the USPTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) titled “Display with light transmitting windows” which effectively removes the need for a notch or cut out.

Apple proposes using thin-film circuitry on an underlying organic layer that’d be perfect for creating an OLED display. Beneath this could sit an array of components including cameras, light or proximity sensors, and even fingerprint scanners in an attempt to create in-screen solutions.

For this setup to work, these components need to have access to whatever’s in front of the display. To achieve this, Apple suggests using loads of small “light transmitting windows” that can be added into the layer on top to allow light through but behind the individual pixels. That way, the sensors beneath the display wouldn’t be visible to users but the components themselves can still see through.

To make sure everything works as well as possible, the windows will apparently be produced in such a way that they are more transparent, therefore allowing more light to travel through. Additionally, anti-reflective layers may be implemented in a bid to avoid light from the pixels bouncing back at the sensors.

When could Apple realistically remove the notch?


The likes of Oppo and Xiaomi have already revealed prototypes of their in-screen camera implementations but the tech is still nowhere near ready for mass production. Both companies are committed to continuing development of the solution which means that by 2020 the first smartphone with an in-display camera could potentially be released.

Samsung is another company that’s actively developing the technology but it’s unlikely to launch a smartphone until 2021 when the solution has matured further. Apple is ultimately in a similar boat to the latter. It won’t be manufacturing the displays itself and is likely to instead purchase them from Samsung, but it typically only implements technology once it’s up to scratch, and 2020 could easily be too early.

As such, 2021 seems to be the most likely candidate for an all-screen iPhone with no notch or cut out. This falls in line perfectly with the predictions of analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who recently predicted Apple’s 2020 iPhones would adopt a smaller notch rather than an in-display solution.

In addition to potentially removing the notch and placing the Face ID system beneath the display, Apple’s 2021 iPhones may also mark the return of Touch ID. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the Silicon Valley-based company is preparing an in-screen solution that could potentially cover almost the entire display. That way, owners of the devices would be able to choose between Face ID and Touch ID without having to forfeit one of them. 
 
As per usual, Apple’s plans are still subject to change and none of these advancements are set in stone just yet. The company could, after all, choose to delay its in-screen solutions, scrap the return of Touch ID, or even speed up the entire process and surprise us all with notchless iPhones next year. Either way, the focus at the minute is the company’s 2019 lineup which should introduce a new triple-camera setup and a variety of internal upgrades including the A13 Bionic chip, larger batteries, and reverse wireless charging support. Also to be expected is Apple’s iOS 13 software pre-installed.

FEATURED VIDEO

122 Comments

1. Be_Mine

Posts: 244; Member since: Dec 29, 2013

When Apple is late to the party. Some people always try to justify it by saying, "Apple only implement new features when it is mature enough". But the very same people very conveniently forget Apple forced USB-C to its customers and removed Headphone Jack even before it is even widely adopted, in order to boost sales of Dongles and Airpod. Now, they are saying the same thing with 5G adoption and removal of Notch/Hole, etc.

3. sgodsell

Posts: 7242; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

They added the notch to only take it away later. They removed TouchID only to bring it back later. Why do you think we give our customers very little choice for iPhones, especially when you compare us to the competition? Apple only cares about money. They don't care what customers want or would like to have. Apple has always been this is what we made, and you better like it. Who cares if you don't like the new changes or not. It's about the bottom line, and not you. You are just a low life customer. At the end of the day Apple has to wait for Android OEMs.

39. mackan84

Posts: 383; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Doesn’t every OEM bring and remove different features all the time?

68. sgodsell

Posts: 7242; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Not one Android OEM has removed their finger print scanner. They may have moved them around, but they never removed them completely. Yet Apple did, and now they are looking to one back. As far as the notch is concerned many Android OEMs have varied options from the same OEM. They will give you a notch smartphone, holes, or small top bezel. Android users still get options. IPhone users do not. It's Apple's way or the highway. Everyone should know that by now.

70. midan

Posts: 2749; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

”Not one Android OEM has removed their finger print scanner. They may have moved them around, but they never removed them completely.” And why would they remove it? They didn’t have anything better to replace it :) Exactly, they moved it around because it never was good anywhere. Also haven’t you heard about phone called pixel 4? According to rumours, it won’t have fingerprint scanner ;) why? Because they think they finally have good enough face recognition.

78. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1382; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Actually it's rumored to have both a more secure Face ID making use of stereoscopic imaging and ultrasonic in-display embedded FPS.

83. midan

Posts: 2749; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Not sure where you have seen those rumours? if you google: pixel 4 fingerprint scanner, all the articles are talking about not having fps. androidcentral "In all of the renders we've seen of the Pixel 4, there's been no sight of a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor like we've had on the Pixel, Pixel 2, and Pixel 3. Furthermore, we haven't heard any rumors regarding an in-display sensor like we've seen on the Galaxy S10 and OnePlus 7 Pro." "We reached out to Google for comment if our take on the missing fingerprint sensor was accurate, but the company simply said that it had "no comment" to provide at this time. Take that as you will." It very likely won't have both, because their new Face Recognition system propably was expensive to have and they want to make it so good like Face ID so you won't need a fps.

94. Deadeye

Posts: 38; Member since: Jul 26, 2019

It´s not that they didn´t have anything better, it´s there ISN´T anything better. Also, no one cares about Pixels.

95. midan

Posts: 2749; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

"It´s not that they didn´t have anything better" It is. Android face recognition wasn't secure enough so they didn't had any chance to remove fingerprint scanner. For example you can't (maybe with very few devices) use your face for payment because you can fool it by just using a photo. So they had to have fingerprint scanner. It looks like pixel face recognition will be in the level where they don't need to have fingerprint scanner anymore. "it´s there ISN´T anything better" Face ID is already lot better and this is coming from guy who use Face ID (iPhone X) and fingerprint scanner (iPad Pro) every day. Luckily my next iPad will have face ID too.

98. oldskool50

Posts: 1380; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

They didn't remove it, because there is NOTHING better. PERIOD. Or quicker. PERIOD. Good you and Leo_MC are the most backwards thinking folks on this planet. You both should be brothers. Face ID is not better than FPS regardless of the lies Apple has told and you believe. No one omn this planet can have the same fingers as you. The only way to bypass FPS is with special tools and time. Face ID can be bypassed with someone who just looks like you. So for people like Asians, and peopel from India as an example, where people have very similar features; Face ID has failed and there are plenty of video proof of it too. So saying anything on the contrary would make you look foolish. Which for the typical crew; that isn't hard. It's sad that you folks are so gullible.

100. midan

Posts: 2749; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

”Face ID is not better than FPS regardless of the lies Apple has told and you believe.” I’m believing my own experience, i don’t care anything else, by the way, i’m not asian ;)

101. mackan84

Posts: 383; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

But what happened to the choice of 3D face unlock? That option is removed all the time? Or iris scanner etc? Fingerprint remains but any other CHOICE vanishes in the next iteration. Your statement is invalid

12. midan

Posts: 2749; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

”removed Headphone Jack even before it is even widely adopted, in order to boost sales of Dongles and Airpod. ” There was lot of lightning headphones available, Dongle came with phones and yes Apple wanted people to understand how great and effortless AirPods are, and the rest is history.

22. Vancetastic

Posts: 1131; Member since: May 17, 2017

You sound like an ad.

57. wickedwilly

Posts: 669; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

Airpods are not great and never were.

61. WieXXX

Posts: 16; Member since: Feb 03, 2019

"Dongle came with phones", Are you sure? Does iPhone Xs come with the dongle? removing the headphone jack means user can not charge the phone and listen to music via lightning headphones at the same time thus it forces user to buy the wireless headphones. I own iPhone 7plus and I hate the fact that it doesn't have headphone jack. Why people has to defend Apple, they don't pay You, You pay them, don't be a sheep, use your brain for once

102. mackan84

Posts: 383; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

I just listened to mkbhd first podcast and there is a minority that needs the headphone jack and care for it. Before smartphones every mobile phone had a different input for headphones and it was a mess. Now at least we have good bt headsets for cheap that works on every smartphone. And if you go wired there is cheap dongles making sure you can charge and listen at the same time. Because wired headphones is the LOUD minority. They can buy LG that even comes with DAC. Kill the headphone jack-team here.

2. Leo_MC

Posts: 7254; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Apple phones DO NOT have notches. This patent can only allow Apple to extend the display even more, over the small TOP BEZEL.

4. Tipus

Posts: 856; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

LMAO! :))) yes they do :))

5. tedkord

Posts: 17318; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Let me ask you a question. The screen diagonal size that Apple advertisers for the iPhone x and iPhone Xs, does it measure to the edge of the cut out, or does it measure all the way up to the corner of the screen? If it measures all the way to the corner of the screen, past the cutout, send it to notch. And that is exactly where they measure 2. It's a notch. You don't have to like it, you just have to live with it.

15. Leo_MC

Posts: 7254; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

“the screen is 6.06 inches diagonally” “ the screen is 5.85 inches (iPhone XS) and 6.46 inches (iPhone XS Max) diagonally” So there’s no “cut out” in the screen of the iPhones.

26. tedkord

Posts: 17318; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

They're measuring corner to corner, not corner to bottom of the notch. Yes, they're is a cutout, and yes,it is a notch.

28. Leo_MC

Posts: 7254; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

So, even after I show you that Apple doesn’t see the main display over the top bezel, you still keep on going with the stupid trolling?!

42. Guaire

Posts: 885; Member since: Oct 15, 2014

"The display has rounded corners that follow a beautiful curved design, and these corners are within a standard rectangle. When measured as a standard rectangular shape, the screen is 5.85 inches (iPhone XS) and 6.46 inches (iPhone XS Max) diagonally. Actual viewable area is less." Stress the words "when measured as a standard rectangular shape," "and actual viewable area is less".

44. Leo_MC

Posts: 7254; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

You can stress whatever you want to stress, that won’t change the fact that Apple presents the main viewing area without the area of the extensions and without the space that’s taken up by the top bezel.

46. Guaire

Posts: 885; Member since: Oct 15, 2014

Let me give you some hard numbers. I don't think it will help you to understand anyways. iPhone XS diagonal is 5.85", it's resolution is 2436x1125 which makes it 19.5:9. Given the aspect ratio and diagonal you can calculate the actual size of display with pythagoras theorem. Square root of ((19.5x19.5)+(9x9)) gives to you diagonal. Which makes 21.48. You can scale that number to any rectangular shape with same aspect ratio. 21.48/5.85 = 3.67. 19.5/3.67 = 5.31" = 135mm 9/3.67 = 2.45" = 62.3mm What is the dimensions of iPhone XS? 143.6 x 70.9mm. How they don't include the what you call "extensions" how they could fit a 135 x62.3mm display in a 143.6x70.9mm body? With this numbers side bezels (non screen area including the metal frame) is about 4.3mm ((70.9-62.3)/2) on both sides. And 8.6mm in total for the chin and forehead according to you EXCLUDING the "notch"! Which is impossible.

50. Leo_MC

Posts: 7254; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Do the math again for XR or Max (Apple's data for XS is wrong).

87. Guaire

Posts: 885; Member since: Oct 15, 2014

Which data exactly according to YOU? XR screen size is 6.06" according to Apple. 21.48/6.06 = 3.54 19.5/3.54 = 5.51" = 139.9mm 9/3.54 = 2.54" = 64.6mm Size of the XR is 150.9 x 75.7mm. Side bezel size is 5.55mm ((75.7-64.6)/2)). Total non screen area of chin and forehead is 11mm (150.9-139.9). According to you, EXCLUDING the notched area. Which is impossible again. XS Max screen size is 6.46". 21.48/6.46 = 3.325 19.5/3.325 = 5.86" = 149mm 9/3.325 = 68.8mm Size of it 157.5 x 77.4mm. Side bezel size is 4.3mm ((77.4-68.8)/2) AGAIN. Total size of chin and forehead is 8.5mm (157.5-149). Math don't lie. You need to face the reality ASAP. At least go a store and measure the da*n things. You made yourself a clown successfully.

114. Leo_MC

Posts: 7254; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

If if your math checks out, it’s irrelevant for what we’re talking about.

69. sgodsell

Posts: 7242; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Oh there is a cutout. For sure. Now Apple doesn't call their notch thingy a notch in their documents. However they do refer to words like display trait, and they also use screen shape. So Leo_MC if you or Apple had to describe to others watch shape is the X, XR, XS, XS Max screen. How would you describe it? Please do tell? Most people here call it a notch. Some call it a cutout, and some even refer to it as a bite mark. Now it should be interesting to see how you describe it.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.