A new report suggests that Apple will be getting an assist from one of its big competitors as it strives to eliminate the front bezel in future generation iPhones. The rumor specifically predicts that Apple will use camera technology from Samsung Display to bring true under-the-display Face ID to the Pro version of next year’s iPhone 15 handset.
Samsung, of course, would get first crack at the technology, and is expected to deploy it in next year’s batch of foldable smartphones. In the meantime, Apple could ditch the bezel in favor of a hole-punch display when it releases the iPhone 14 later in 2022. However, that would simply be a step on the road to a full under-the-display system if the latest rumor is to be believed. Samsung already uses a hole-punch display in its Galaxy smartphones, though Apple has yet to embrace such a solution.
In terms of technology, Samsung Display is reportedly building its new camera system in collaboration with Canada’s OTI Lumionics. The system takes advantage of a metal patterning layer made with cathode mask materials that is transparent enough to allow light to pass through from below when the camera system is activated. The materials are also arranged in a unique pattern that allows it to capture light that comes from outside the device.
Samsung used a laser drilling technique to construct the under-the-panel camera system in the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Apple, on the other hand, is reportedly searching for an alternative to the drill.
The elimination of the iPhone bezel has been a long-term goal for Apple for the past several years. Apple has filed several patent applications for different kinds of in-display biometric authentication technology, though it has yet to feature any of those solutions in a consumer device. It also patented a new, more consistent camera assembly system in 2021.