Apple Supplier Announces New Light and Proximity Sensors to Help Shrink the 2019 iPhone Notch

Display around front cameras

Apple obviously has its own pipe dreams related to the iPhone, but it can only go so far based on the realities of the technology available to it.

That’s why the notch on the iPhone X, and the iPhone XS/XS Max and iPhone XR are so big. However, word on the street is starting to pick up steam that Apple is looking to make a pretty big change in terms of notch size, and it may happen as early as this year. We’ve heard previous rumblings that Apple was planning on introducing a smaller notch in 2019, and that seems to be getting corroborated from different sources at this point.

Now, as Reuters reported on Monday, one of Apple’s key suppliers is making headway in helping Apple reduce the size of the notch — and maybe get rid of it entirely at some point in the near future. AMS officially announced today that it has developed new under-display light and proximity sensors. The new IR proximity and RGB light sensors can still function just as they are intended to, even though they are installed underneath the OLED display.

(This methodology would work for the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max successor, but unless Apple switches to OLED in the iPhone XR followup, this means we should expect a similar notch in that lineup later this year.)

“Smartphone OEMs today are striving to maximize their products’ screen-to-body ratio, reducing the bezel area as much as possible on the display’s face,” said David Moon, Senior Marketing Manager at ams. “The TCS3701 enables phone designers to take this trend to a new level, potentially eliminating the bezel entirely. This is only possible because the TCS3701 can operate behind an OLED display, a breakthrough enabled by the outstanding sensitivity of the device and by the implementation of sophisticated measurement algorithms to compensate for the optical distortion caused by the OLED display.”

We’ve heard one analyst say that the 2019 iPhone is going to reduce the size of the notch. And earlier in 2018 we heard rumors that Apple was planning on ditching the notch altogether in this year’s lineup. Whatever the case, it will be interesting to see what Apple develops. Could we see a hole punch design this year?

What do you think?

[via AMS; Reuters]