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A leaker might’ve spilled the first details about Apple’s iPhone 13

Published Oct 7th, 2020 2:01PM EDT
iPhone 12 Release Date
Image: Apple Inc.

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  • The first iPhone 13 design leak has now arrived even before Apple’s iPhone 12 launch event takes place.
  • The iPhone 12 will bring a new design, but the display itself isn’t expected to get any meaningful changes.
  • An insider now says that the iPhone 13 will still feature a notch as well, but it will be much shorter than the one on current iPhone models and the upcoming iPhone 12.

Apple will unveil the iPhone 12 series on October 13th. The company confirmed as much on Tuesday when it announced a virtual press conference that will be streamed online. The mid-October date wasn’t a surprise, as several leaks suggested that would be the case. But while we wait for Apple to confirm the many iPhone 12 rumors we’ve seen so far this year, we already have an interesting new iPhone rumor to consider. An insider who usually delivers Samsung leaks just gave us the first iPhone 13 design leak. And it so happens that the leak makes plenty of sense given what a separate leak said earlier this week.

A report from Korea said that Samsung is testing various technologies that would allow it to place the selfie camera under the screen as soon as next year. However, poor yields will force Samsung to delay the launch of the under-display camera (UDC) to next fall. The Galaxy S21 will apparently still feature a hole-punch display just like its predecessors, with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 supposedly getting the under-screen selfie cam fans are anxiously awaiting.

If true, the report has huge implications for the entire industry. If UDC tech isn’t mature enough for Samsung to use it in its own Galaxy S and Note flagships, then other Samsung Display customers might not want it for their flagships either. It so happens that Samsung provides most of the OLED displays that Apple needs for the iPhone, and Samsung’s deal isn’t likely to end soon. Apple has been looking at other display makers to reduce its reliance on Samsung, but Samsung’s OLED screens remain the best in the industry.

Samsung and other Android handset makers that use the same hole-punch displays could benefit from future UDC OLED screens. But it’s a lot more difficult for Apple to replace the notch with an under-screen camera. That’s because the notch houses several sensors in addition to the camera, and they’re all required for the 3D face recognition system that powers Face ID authentication. Face ID has no rival in the industry, especially now that Google dropped its own 3D face authentication system. Apple isn’t likely to follow Google’s lead anytime soon.

The iPhone 12 is rumored to feature a major redesign, but the makeover won’t affect the screen. The four phones will feature the same notch design as its predecessors, though some rumors claim it’ll be marginally smaller than the notch on Apple’s iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone Xs series, and iPhone 11 lineup.

Well-known insider Ice Universe has now posted a couple of updates on Twitter, saying that the iPhone 13 will also feature a notch design, but the bezel cutout will be shorter than before. He also provided the following drawing:

It’s unclear what would help Apple reduce the size of the notch. Maybe the company has figured out how to reduce the size of the TrueDepth camera components. Or perhaps the speaker system will be placed under the screen, a design that Sony and others have used in the past. But taken together, the Samsung under-display camera rumor and Ice’s iPhone 13 design leak suggest that we’ll have to wait a lot longer for phones with selfie cameras under the screen to go mainstream. Even if the Galaxy Z Fold 3 does feature UDC tech, the foldable likely won’t be a big seller.

As for the iPhone 12 series, Apple’s four new iPhones are all expected to feature a metal chassis with flat sides, similar to Apple’s designs for iPhone 5 and the iPad Pro.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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