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This might be the secret behind the shrinking notch on the iPhone 13

Published May 14th, 2021 4:53PM EDT

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We’re still about four months out from the launch of the iPhone 13, but rumors and leaks have been popping up at a furious pace in recent months. According to those leaks, one of the most likely design changes coming to the iPhone 13 is a smaller notch, which many iPhone owners have been clamoring for since the iPhone X launched in 2017. This alteration seemed inevitable, and the only question was how the company was going to make it happen. Now, thanks to a new report from Digitimes, we might know the secret behind the shrinking notch.

Citing industry sources, Digitimes reports that Apple has figured out a way to reduce the size of the VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser) chips that are used in the Face ID sensors by 40-50% in new iPhone and iPad models set to roll out later this fall. Not only could this assist Apple in making the notch take up less room, but it should also help Apple cut production costs, as even fewer wafers will need to be produced for the chips.

Providing the leaks that we’ve seen over the past few weeks are accurate, we already know what to expect when it comes to the design of the iPhone 13. Back in April, leaked images of a purported screen protector for the iPhone 13 made it clear that the sensor housing will be significantly smaller this time around. That assertion has been backed up by subsequent leaks, including a video from Unbox Therapy showcasing an iPhone 13 Pro Max dummy model which had been built with the specifications of all the latest rumors and reports in mind.

Scaling down the chips is one way that Apple could achieve a smaller notch on the iPhone 13 lineup, but it’s certainly not the only way. Other reports claim that Apple will push the earpiece speaker from the center of the notch to the top, where it will sit in the bezel that surrounds the display. This would let Apple pack all of the sensors within the housing closer together, eliminating the need for such a wide notch at the top of the screen.

The notch will likely be the design element that we’ll all be tracking when Apple unveils the iPhone 13 in September, but it won’t be the only element of the iPhone to get a makeover. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has claimed the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will come with upgraded Ultra Wide cameras that have apertures of f/1.8 and autofocus instead of fixed focus. The camera modules of the dummy unit seemingly reflect that, and as a result, the lenses are noticeably larger than they were on the iPhone 12 series.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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