Update - March 8: Ross Young, display expert extraordinaire, has released a report that adds more weight to the claim of Pro-only display cut-outs.
Initial reports that Apple was ready to do away with the controversial notch on its upcoming iPhone 14 Pro handsets were largely welcomed, but it appears that the replacement may be even more divisive.
First we were told that the holepunch would be larger and pill shaped to compensate for the Face ID technology, then display analyst Ross Young said that the pill would be alongside a traditional hole punch:
We now believe Apple will have a hole + pill design on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models. The smaller hole will not be invisible...The two hole concept will be unique to Apple, like the notch, not similar to all the pill models from Huawei...Let's see those new renders pic.twitter.com/Udt8cTKzPZJanuary 12, 2022
While you may be fairly sceptical of a Weibo post, the renowned leaker Jon Prosser — who revealed the death of the notch before the iPhone 13 was even official, and has an solid 69% accuracy score on AppleTrack — included the picture in his latest YouTube video. He stated that he has “independently been able to verify” the schematic’s legitimacy. So while it’s not guaranteed, it’s certainly likely.
So what’s the thinking here? It looks like Apple is simply making the notch as transparent as possible, removing everything that isn’t a camera or a Face ID sensor. The result is that the dead space is replaced by screen. In short, you’re getting a bit more display, though not much that’s especially usable.
Say what you want about it: it’s certainly a distinctive look. Distinctive looks can be good, as evidenced by the dozens of AirPod imitators out there. AirPods, it’s worth remembering, were initially dismissed as too weird looking to catch on, but the sales figures didn’t lie, and the distinct style went from ‘alien’ to ‘iconic’ in just a few short months.
But distinctiveness can also be divisive. And with the basic iPhone 14 rumored to be persisting with the regular notch that has now become accepted if not actively loved, it will be interesting to see how shoppers respond when the new iPhones emerge later this year.