Ever since Apple introduced Face ID and the notch on the iPhone X, a lot of people have looked forward to the day when we get a truly all-screen phone. Despite the slim bezels on Face ID iPhones since, having an unimpeded screen is a dream. Many of the best Android phones have gotten the closest to this ideal, though they rely on hole-punch cameras.
Famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said on Twitter that we'll need to wait a couple more years for that all-screen dream to become reality. He says Apple's under-display camera (UDC) and Face ID tech won't arrive until 2024. This isn't all that surprising, considering that under-display cameras right now (such as on the RedMagic 7 Pro) aren't that good.
I think the real full-screen iPhone will come in 2024. High-end iPhones in 2024 would adopt an under-display front camera alongside the under-display Face ID. A low-light condition is detrimental to front camera quality, and ISP & algorithm are critical for quality improvements. https://t.co/vWjeZYZUPKApril 20, 2022
Kuo also previously shot down under-display Touch ID predictions for the iPhone 14. He predicts the project has seen a two-year delay, alluding to Apple no longer seeing a need for it now that Face ID works pretty well with masks. I've certainly noticed it's a lot more reliable than when iOS 15.4 first launched, and when it does fail, I have the Apple Watch workaround from iOS 14.5 also active as a backup.
I, for one, think Apple delaying under-display camera and Face ID tech is a good thing. The iPhone 13 takes fantastic selfies and I wouldn't want to see that prowess compromised by the current limitations of UDCs. There are situations where the technology makes sense right now, such as with the best gaming phones that don't need to take the best selfies.
Kuo implies that Apple might rely on image signal processor (ISP) and algorithm improvements to compensate for low-light struggles. These updates ought to make the UDC on the iPhone 16 work as well as unobscured front cameras. To be fair, we have yet to see the two best Android camera phone makers, Google and Samsung, tackle UDCs so we're a bit cynical about the technology. (And we highly doubt that Google will adopt UDCs on Pixels for a long time yet.)
Even without an all-screen iPhone this year, the iPhone 14 Pro looks like it might finally shake up the tired design. The latest rumors suggest that the infamous notch will shrink to pill-shaped and hole-punch cutouts. If that, and the fan-made renders that have since appeared, prove true, the iPhone 14 Pro will certainly be a looker. And the front-facing camera is expected to see an upgrade with better autofocus and a wider aperture.