Apple is looking for a way to get rid of the notch after introducing it just a few years ago.
As spotted by Apple Insider (opens in new tab), a recent patent filed with the U.S. Patent Office titled "Photodetectors Integrated into Thin-Film Transistor Backplanes" explains how Apple could use in-display photodetectors to "obtain biometric information, such as fingerprints, palm-prints, 3D face scans, or retina scans."
In layman's terms, the back of the screen would be layered with Thin-Film Transistors that will act as a camera and biometric scanner capable of IDing users.
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It appears Apple is seeking to integrate the front-facing camera and Touch ID into the display and do away with the notch design they started with the iPhone X.
Images come to mind of just one large uninterrupted screen for users to enjoy. However, will this major upgrade be ready to be included in the upcoming iPhone 13? Apple is usually ardent about making sure new features and technology function as close to perfect as possible before releasing it to the public. Keeping that in mind, our best guess would be that it won't appear before 2022's iPhone 14 release.
The other interesting thing mentioned within the new patent are ways of reducing the "cost, size, complexity, part count, or manufacture time of the sensor or sensor system" and improving the sensitivity or speed.
So it's possible Apple is not only looking to get rid of the notch to create a larger viewing area but to also lower the cost to consumers. As the French would say, "sacré bleu!" And when you add this to the other recent patent filing by Apple for displays with variable refresh rates, we're talking about serious upgrades coming to future iPhone models.