iPhone 16 could be the iPhone to wait for, according to new rumor

An iPhone 13 with the notch edited out.
An iPhone 13 with the notch digitally edited out. (Image credit: Future)

If you're an iPhone fan you've probably been considering whether the iPhone 14 is worth waiting for or not... but have you thought about waiting anther two years for the iPhone 16?

According to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will wait until 2024 to debut its Under-Display Camera (UDC) tech, and will push Face ID below the screen too. That's the year we'd expect to see the iPhone 16, if Apple doesn't decide to take a year to launch an S-variant as it has in the past.

UDC tech enables the selfie camera to be housed under the screen, so you can't see it at a glance, and a few companies, including Samsung and ZTE, have already released phones that make use of this.

However, at the moment it's not an ideal way of reducing the screen space taken up by a front-facing camera. The display prevents a certain amount of light from hitting the camera's sensor, so selfies often end up pretty dull or dark, and while companies have used processing algorithms to offset this, it's never a perfect solution.

And it would be even more of an issue for Face ID, as the sensors require good lighting to scan your face and unlock the phone.

Kuo's post mentions "quality improvements" for the front-facing camera on Apple's 2024 iPhones, but it's not clear if he's saying these are in the works, or is simply suggesting they're important.

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Analysis: that's one way to nix the notch

At the moment the iPhone 14 series is cresting the horizon, and one of the big discussions around the upcoming handset is the notch.

Apple houses its front-facing cameras, and Face ID sensors, in a fairly large notch that eats into the screen real estate. Android phone makers have for some years now been using 'punch-hole' cut-outs, pop-up cameras and UDCs as a way to retain as much display space as possible.

It's not a straight comparison though, because most Android phones don't use the same facial recognition tech as Apple's Face ID, so they don't require as many front-facing sensors, but that hasn't stopped Apple fans from demanding something similar for iPhones.

And according to these rumors it could finally be happening, as leakers think certain iPhone 14 models will get cut-out segments for the front camera and Face ID sensors.

This would be a good first step, but it likely won't actually save that much screen space, given how large Apple's Face ID array is – so maybe it should be treated simply as a stepping stone towards a cut-out-free iPhone display.

If Kuo is correct, Apple is clearly looking for a better way to hide the front cameras, and even if UDCs aren't the way it ultimately decides to go, at least it appears that the company is aware of fans' demands.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.