With just over a month to go until the expected launch of the iPhone 14, we’re at the point where the rumors are starting to look foolproof thanks to the weight of the leaks. And based on the last of ice universe (opens in a new tab)the notch will really be a thing of the past for the iPhone 14 Pro.
The notch has been a fixture of Apple’s iPhone lineup since 2017’s iPhone X, slowly becoming a calling card for high-end Apple devices. All iPhones except SE models have it now, it’s started showing up on MacBooks, and the next iPad Pro is even rumored to have one.
But despite debuting in 2017’s flagship iPhone, it looks like 2022’s higher-end models will be the first to drop it. Rumors have circulated that the iPhone 14 Pro would ditch the notch before the iPhone 13 came along, but have since solidified and the consensus is that it will be replaced with two cutouts: a pinhole camera cutout and a pill-shaped area for house all the intelligent Face ID technology.
Now Ice Universe, an informant who has a pretty good track record on these things, has shared what looks like an image of a screensaver (opens in a new tab) designed for the iPhone 14 Pro, cutouts and all.
These cutouts look familiar enough now, but it’s still strange to see them in the form of a screen saver: two cutouts to allow the camera settings to work. They’re pretty big (although they’ll presumably appear a bit smaller on the iPhone 14 Pro Max due to scale) and could actually prove more divisive than the notch, which at least has familiarity on its side at this point.
Worse than the notch?
In fact, the new pill and hole punch are considerably more distracting than high-end Android phone solutions. Some of that is out of Apple’s control: Android devices don’t have to make room for complicated FaceID technology, so they can usually get away with a single punched-out circle to house the camera.
But it’s also true that Android phone makers have also explored some truly innovative ways to hide the front lens. Manufacturers have experimented with placing cameras in complicated pop-up mechanisms inside phones, or even hiding them in plain sight under screens.
But both approaches have their drawbacks. Pop-up mechanisms not only include an additional mechanical element to break or dust, they tend to add weight to phones. Meanwhile, the under-display cameras, like the selfie camera found on the internal panel of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, suffer when it comes to image quality.
It would be surprising if Apple hadn’t considered such approaches, knowing the notch’s unpopularity, but the company is also aware that its brand is so strong that it can, to some degree, shape what’s hot. The notch was, after all, imitated by other high-end phone makers in the wake of the iPhone X and AirPods, once dismissed as too rare to catch up. (opens in a new tab) – are now ubiquitous and widely imitated.
Since the pill-and-hole-punch design is supposed to be unique to the iPhone 14 Pro, it too can become iconic in its own way, even if in practical and aesthetic terms it’s less appealing than other options on the table.
Hopefully, we’ll see for ourselves before long, as mid-September seems like the most likely date for Apple’s next event. Stay up to date with the latest in our comprehensive iPhone 14 rumor hub.