304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
We’re days away from the launch of Apple’s next iPhone lineup, and if you’ve been following the upcoming devices, you’ve probably heard about two major changes — the “mini” iPhone has been phased out in favor of the new non-Pro iPhone 14 Max, and a new punch-hole notch holes and pills, which many call an “i” notch.
The new notch style, which will reportedly only appear on the Pro models (iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max), has been spotted in a number of leaked images and renders over the past few months, such as these from Twitter users ‘Ian Zelbo’ and ‘DuanRui’ .
This is the iPhone 14 Pro in purple – with @Jon_prosser
See more in the latest FPT episode https://t.co/sOKPnU6U4N pic.twitter.com/AJSIR52ns7
— Ian Zelbo (@ianzelbo) May 25, 2022
— DuanRui (@duanrui1205) August 25, 2022
Apple’s new design for the front-facing camera and other components finally gives a new look to the new iPhone Pro series, a much-needed refresh thanks to the wide notch that, despite several size reductions, has been around since the iPhone X. How did Apple manage to fit all of its front-facing components into the new, smaller cutout in the shape of a pill, remains a mystery to many.
Now, a new Apple patent first spotted by Patently Apple (via 9to5Mac ) hints at how Apple likely managed to make the new notch design work. A patent published by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) mentions a device that implements a “light folding element” that is able to redirect the IR sensor input in the device, allowing the IR sensors themselves to be placed elsewhere inside the phone.
This is a key development, as the IR emitter and scanners that power Apple’s FaceID technology are responsible for the giant notch on the front of all newer iPhone models since the iPhone X, which use FaceID instead of the fingerprint-based TouchID. (without the SE series).
While the new “light-folding element” mechanism doesn’t allow for a completely notch-less design just yet, it paves the way for the notch to transition into what’s called an i-shaped pill notch, a more modern-looking implementation. and allows for more screen real estate.
Note that the Patently Apple report doesn’t specifically confirm that it’s this mechanism that powers the new i-shaped notch, nor does it confirm that devices with said mechanism will launch this year, but it does connect the dots from the report to leaks that we’ve seen so far, this looks like the path Apple has taken to redesign its notch.
Apple is set to launch the iPhone 14-series, possibly with a few other hardware introductions, on September 7. We should know more specific details about the new notch design during the opening keynote.