Going forward, iPhones will have a notch at the top, as Apple made clear back in September when it unveiled the iPhone XS and XR models. The notch is the ugliest thing about the iPhone X design, but it’s a necessary trade-off right now. Samsung, meanwhile, is not a fan of the notch. But the unsightly top bezel might disappear in the near future with the help of Samsung Display, which is reportedly working on a screen that would allow Samsung, Apple, and others to create true all-screen phones.
Most Android makers out there, except for Samsung, have already copied the iPhone X design this year. Some Chinese companies explored other all-screen designs as well, replacing the notch with slide-out camera mechanism. That’s definitely not the way to go for Apple and Samsung.
Instead, future iPhones and Galaxy devices may feature screens that extend from corner to corner, with no visible bezels whatsoever. The selfie cams would still keep their position at the top of the handset, but they’d be placed under the screen.
Samsung Display, which is already a main screen supplier for the iPhone X, is already developing screen technology that would let it place the camera under the display, according to a tip received by @Samsung_News_:
#Samsung is working on a new technology trying to hide the front camera underneath the display. My sources told me that there are just a hand full of prototypes using this technology. I don't think we'll see this feature in retail phones until 2020, but who knows 🤷🏽♂️
— Max Jambor (@MaxJmb) October 18, 2018
Well-known Samsung leaker Ice Universe posted a photo from a Samsung Display presentation that mentions the new technology as well:
Great news! Samsung established the direction of mobile phone design in 2019!
On October 18th, Samsung Display invited about 20 customers to hold the "2018 Samsung OLED Forum" at the Shenzhen Marriott Hotel in China. At the meeting, Samsung showed a PPT pic.twitter.com/sYu0ORTd6V
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) October 19, 2018
Earlier this year, Samsung demoed display prototypes that conduct sound through bone, thus eliminating the need of having a speaker at the top of the handset. The top speaker also occupies a great deal of space inside the notch. The image above makes a reference to that technology as well.
Samsung, whose all-screen phones feature Infinity Displays that have top and bottom bezels, is interested in eliminating those bezels. It wouldn’t be surprising to see displays with built-in cameras debut on a Galaxy S or Note before a future iPhone gets one. But the Galaxy S10 seems unlikely to have a selfie cam under the screen given the rumor above. The next Samsung flagship, the Galaxy S10, is already expected to feature a display with a fingerprint sensor built into it and to have smaller bezels than its predecessors. ‘Fingerprint on Display,’ as Samsung calls it, is also featured in the leaked photo. Also mentioned in the image above is a ‘Haptic on Display’ screen technology that would allow Samsung to place buttons within the screen, for gaming purposes.
As for Apple, we already know that the iPhone maker is also studying technology that would allow it to place all those notch components — including cameras, speaker, and sensors — under the screen, and manufacture a no-compromise, all-screen iPhone. But Apple next year is expected to launch three iPhone models: Direct successors of the iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and iPhone XS Max that will likely feature the same designs as this year’s iPhones. Apple needed three years to come out with a significant iPhone redesign, keeping in place the 2014 iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus designs until the iPhone X came along last year. Assuming Apple sticks to a similar schedule for the current designs, then 2020 may be the year when the next major iPhone redesign comes out.