iPhone 14: Under-display Face ID still a work in progress, may be delayed

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iPhone 14 without notch
What the front of iPhone 14 might look like.
Photo: Jon Prosser/Ian Zelbo

It’s probably best not to get too excited for under-display Face ID in next year’s iPhone 14. Despite Wednesday’s big leak hinting at the upgrade for 2022, one analyst warns the technology is still very much a work in progress.

In recent years, manufacturers have been working to put front-facing cameras behind their smartphone displays in an effort to eliminate notches and holes. And the results, perhaps unsurprisingly, have been a mixed bag.

Under-display sensors still need work

Some implementations, like that in the Oppo Axon 30 5G, worked out pretty well and show genuine signs of promise for the future. However, most, like that in the new Galaxy Z Fold3, aren’t well hidden and they don’t take great photos.

It’s easy to see why Apple hasn’t adopted under-display cameras to eliminate the notch just yet, then. Rumor has it, however, that it is exploring under-display Face ID that would allow that notch to become little more than a hole.

Wednesday’s big leak from Front Page Tech revealed next year’s iPhone 14 refresh could be the first to sport a single “hole punch” cutout for its front-facing camera, while the Face ID sensors would be hidden beneath its screen.

But the leak also warned that these details were based on an early prototype, and that Apple’s plans could change before next year’s iPhone is unveiled. Now, one analyst claims under-display Face ID is still a work in progress.

Apple’s work on hiding Face ID isn’t done

“I would say under panel Face ID isn’t final yet,” tweeted Ross Young, the CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants. “Still being worked on. It is easier than under panel cameras though.”

That last line offers some hope. But it’s important to bear in mind that while Apple is exploring this technology for a future iPhone, the tech may not be ready for next year’s refresh. We could still be seeing that notch for a couple of years.

Young, as well as TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, previously detailed Apple’s plans to replace iPhone’s notch with a single hole for the front-facing camera and embed its Face ID sensors beneath the screen.

Both agree that this would be exclusively for iPhone Pro models initially, while the more affordable iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 mini (if the mini still exists next year) would carry a smaller notch — like that expected to debut next week with iPhone 13.

The problem with early leaks

Young’s warning highlights one of the many problems with leaks that surface well in advance of an actual product announcement. And it’s another of the many reasons why Apple works so hard to keep these things a secret.

Not only do the whispers have the potential to negatively impact iPhone 13 sales, as noted by Cult of Mac’s Lewis Wallace, but they set expectations for a future product that Apple may not be ready to meet yet.