Apple's iPhone 13 Won't Ditch The Notch, But It Could Get Smaller With This Change

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When Apple launched the iPhone X back in 2017, it brought a new design quirk to the table: a large display notch. The notch housed the ear speaker, selfie camera, Face ID hardware, and various other sensors. Unfortunately, the notch has remained for successive generations of iPhones and hasn't gotten any smaller with the current iPhone 12 family.

However, that could change with the iPhone 13, according to a new report. Apple reportedly was able to reduce the size of the VCSEL chip necessary for the Face ID. According to the report, the VCSEL's size has been reduced by up to 50 percent compared to previous iterations. This change allows Apple to get twice as many parts on a single wafer, which reduces overall costs.

While the cheaper production costs are music to Apple's ears, the benefit for iPhone customers is a smaller notch at the top of the display. Apple is perhaps the only major smartphone maker on the planet pushing smartphones with the gigantic eyesore on its displays. While some Android manufacturers were quick to copy the iPhone X notch, they just as quickly pivoted to in-display fingerprint sensors. This advanced biometric authentication method and hole-punch selfie cameras give Android smartphones a much more modern look from the front (and more accessible screen real estate) than iPhones.

We don't know how much smaller the notch will be on the iPhone 13 family at this time. Apple still must find a place to put the ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, selfie camera, and speaker. But even if Apple were able to cut the size of the notch in half, it would still take up more space than the hole punch cutouts found on Android smartphones.

Previous rumors suggested that Apple would also implement an in-display Touch ID sensor for the iPhone 13 as a complementary authentication method to Face ID. This was allegedly in response to the rise in mask wearing due to COVID-19. However, those rumors haven't been corroborated. In addition, the CDC just issued new guidance that will ensure that mandatory mask-wearing will be a thing of the past for most Americans going forward.

Besides the Face ID hardware updates, the iPhone 13 will use a next-generation SoC built on an enhanced TSMC 5nm process node. We don't know if it will continue with the A15 Bionic nomenclature or use some variant of the M1 or eventual M2 Apple Silicon. It's also rumored that the iPhone 13 will be thicker to accommodate larger batteries and larger sensors for improved cameras on the back.