Skip to main content

New Patent Reveals How Apple Could Kill the Notch

Just like Samsung is readying a true full screen display, a new patent shows that Apple is actively working to kill the notch it created much to the chagrin of smartphone fans all over the planet.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Dutch tech blog MobileKopen has unearthed a new patent that details a way to drill holes in display panels to allow for FaceID cameras and infrared sensors to look through the screen, effectively changing the notch to holes on the screen. 

The patent describes a method to carefully drill hole with sub-millimetric precision on screens without breaking the entire screen or disturbing the electronic array.

The description of the technology seems rather pedestrian compared to the one unveiled this month by the Samsung Display division at the Marriott Hotel in Shenzhen, China. That presentation showed a display with no holes whatsoever. It seems like the division has figured out how to make displays that can let light through so hidden camera sensors can take photos or record under the screen itself.

However, Apple may or may not use this patent. It’s important to keep in mind that Samsung Display is a division that caters both to Samsung Mobile and any other manufacturer. In fact, it is the OLED provider for the iPhone X and Google’s Pixel 3. While Samsung Mobile may snatch these magicscreens first, there’s no doubt that Apple and others may adopt them too.

Credit: USPTO

(Image credit: USPTO)

Apple’s patent — titled “Electronic device displays with holes to accommodate components” — was filed in 2016, which was probably around the time iPhone X was under development for its 2017 release. Perhaps Apple wasn’t able to pull this method and therefore decided to go with the notch — or maybe the notch was a stopgap measure as they got this to work.

What is clear is that, despite claims to the contrary, the notch goes against every single design principle followed by Apple. Contrary to the principles of one of Jony Ive’s design influences — the revered Dutch designer Dieter Rams — the iPhone’s notch detracts from the clean lines and unobtrusive looks that Apple products are known for.

So yes, Apple may kill the notch sooner or later. And good riddance that will be.

Jesus Diaz

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.