The Apple TV Plus show Ted Lasso may have stolen our hearts, but the internet is abuzz that the latest episode gave us something: a quick look at a notchless iPhone, perhaps even a sneak peek at an iPhone 13, which is rumored to launch on September 14.
That’s a massive ‘perhaps,’ but before we get into explanations, let’s look at the evidence. In the episode, the Richmond team owner Rebecca Welton’s mother is in town and receives a call on her phone. While we don’t get the best view, it looks to lack a notch – and a few seconds later, we can see it’s clearly meant to look like an iPhone 12 thanks to its flat edges and rear camera block.
Curiously, another scene later in the episode shows Rebecca’s phone also doesn’t have a notch when she sets it on her bed. And yet, moments later, the front of the phone is shown with its signature notch. But unlike the handset shown earlier in the episode, this phone’s rounded edges suggest it’s an iPhone 11 model (at least).
In sum, we have two seemingly different phone designs with a disappearing notch, suggesting this isn’t exactly an iPhone 13 that Apple slipped into one of its premiere original shows. Odds are this was some prop iPhone or, more likely, CGI layered on top of phones in post-production, and they either forgot to add a notch back in or just didn’t care. Who would quibble over a small black tab?
Analysis: probably not a notchless iPhone 13 – here's why
It’s entirely possible that Apple slipped one or multiple iPhone 13 models without notches into an episode of one of its shows – and specifically this episode, given we haven’t heard about a notchless iPhone before. But every rumor we’ve heard suggests we’re very likely stuck with those big black tabs in this year’s iPhone 13 range.
There is some good news: multiple rumors have suggested the notch will be smaller, in leaked component photos and 3D-printed mock-ups, with some suggesting it will be 30% slimmer than the iPhone 12’s cutout. Rumors agree across the board: the iPhone 13 will have a notch.
Rumors also suggest that the standard iPhone 13’s two rear cameras will switch to a diagonal arrangement (purportedly to fit larger lenses and/or components), while Rebecca’s mother’s phone has the same vertical rear camera setup as the iPhone 12.
Apple will likely retire the notch from its iPhones at some point, though its Face ID relies on extra sensors that have accompanied its front-facing camera, and we’re not sure if a single shooter in a punch-hole would cover it. Rumors suggest Apple is looking into under-display cameras, but that may not arrive until the iPhone 14 in 2022 or foldable iPhone Flip in 2023, as analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted. We’ll wait and see what the iPhone 13 actually brings, but we wouldn’t expect Ted Lasso, of all shows, to quietly give a sneak peek of the next iPhone we expect to launch soon.
- iPhone 13 notch: will Apple switch to an under-display camera in 2021?
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David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.