With screen cut-outs expected to replace the notch in the iPhone 14 Pro later this year followed by the non-Pro iPhone 15 models next year, the wait for a truly all-screen iPhone looks set to go on. And it will reportedly continue to go on for two more years if the latest pronouncement from the well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is correct.
In a tweet today, Kuo reiterates his previous prediction that under-display Face ID will come to the iPhone range in 2024, coinciding with the launch of the iPhone 16 handsets. But he adds further detail and appears to alter his reasoning: earlier this month he cited marketing rather than technical reasons, but today he explains that improvements to the image signal processor and software algorithms are necessary to combat poor low-light performance from the front-facing camera if it also sits under the display.
As with the notch situation in the 2022 models, all signs point to Apple using the all-screen design as a way of differentiating its more expensive Pro handsets (Kuo refers to “high-end iPhones”), with the standard iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Max presumably left with either notches or screen cut-outs for their front-facing sensors. This is assuming, admittedly, that the current standard/Pro/Max designations still exist by that point.
The post, while intriguing, is disappointingly cautious in its timeframe; there had been hopes that under-screen Face ID, at least, might make an appearance in the iPhone 15 Pro next year. But spare a thought for fans of Touch ID, who’ve been waiting for years to see that feature installed under the display. Display expert Ross Young says it won’t even arrive in 2024, and perhaps it never will.
Is this prediction correct?
We know a fair bit about the iPhone 14 handsets coming out later this year, but the idea that even very well-informed analysts can make accurate predictions about the iPhones two generations further down the line is tenuous. We’re in the realm of broad speculation, extrapolation, and guesswork about Apple’s general direction, and even information that may be sound now could quickly become outdated as the company’s plans change.
With all of that said, the prediction does make sense and fits with what DSCC CEO Ross Young tweeted last month. At this point, it seems entirely feasible (and as we see is accepted by at least two big-name analysts) that Face ID will sit under the display on the iPhone 16 generation, and it would seem logical to offer this at the point when the front-facing camera can be designed in the same way. Having slightly less of a notch (or cut-out) is somewhat appealing, but removing it entirely is far more so.
The technology for under-display sensors exists, but it’s nowhere near Apple’s lofty standards. We saw Samsung put a camera under the display for its Galaxy Z Fold3, but quality and design left something to be desired. So Kuo’s bit about improving the processing makes sense and it’s going to take time.
Finally, it’s worth reiterating that Ming-Chi Kuo has a long track record in the industry and has made a number of accurate calls. He is not infallible by any means–his accuracy rating on AppleTrack is a somewhat unspectacular 72.5 percent at time of writing–but this partly reflects the nature of his work, which tends towards broad long-distance forecasts rather than “My sources tell me Apple will hold an event in 11 days’ time.” He knows his stuff.
In summary, then, don’t bet your house that this prediction is exactly right, but it probably matches Apple’s current plans.