Those in the know have been predicting that Apple would drop the notch from the iPhone display for several years now, but the consensus is that this year will finally be the year – and we now have a better idea of how this could work on the iPhone 14 Pro.
A leaked schematic posted to Chinese social media site Weibo (opens in new tab) (via 9to5Mac (opens in new tab)) appears to show the two cut outs that will replace the notch. Well-known tipster Jon Prosser (opens in new tab) says he believes the leak to be accurate in terms of what Apple is planning as well.
It would seem Apple isn't ready to put a selfie camera under the display of the iPhone, which means cut outs are still required if the notch is going to disappear. Other components, like the infrared sensor for Face ID, will also be housed here.
The combination of both a circular cut out and a pill-shaped cut out we can see in this schematic backs up previous rumors from last month – and we haven't seen any other phone manufacturers take this particular design route yet.
While some Android device makers (such as Huawei) make use of a pill cut out, and other Android device makers (such as Samsung) deploy a punch hole cut out, we haven't yet seen the two combined in the way that Apple is apparently planning.
The leaked schematic doesn't really tell us much else, although these cut outs do look a little larger than we were expecting. At the moment, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are expected to get this new design, while the more affordable iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max stick with the traditional notch.
Analysis: the beginning of the end of the notch era
Before Apple decided to add a notch to the iPhone X, phone makers typically embedded the selfie camera, speaker and other components in the top bezel of the handset. The iPhone X launched back in 2017, and it seems that five years later the notch will be removed from at least some of Apple's iPhones.
The thinking now would seem to be the same as it was back then: Apple wants to make sure there's as much screen space as possible made available to iOS and the apps that run on top of it. That extra space can be used for notification badges, for example.
This time though, Apple is following the pack rather than leading it: manufacturers were quick to adopt the display notch after Apple started using it, but most have now moved on to smaller punch holes and pills to house the necessary components.
Ultimately, it seems as though screen and camera technology will develop to a level where the camera and other sensors can be embedded under the display, without any need for cut outs at all (see the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, for example). Apple will want this tech to be perfect before it introduces it on the iPhone, however.