Apple Rumored to Launch Notch-Less iPhone in 2020

Apple may be gearing up to slim down and then completely remove the notch from iPhones over the next two years.


First, reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is out with a new research note today via Chinese website MyDrivers in which he claims that at least one new iPhone in 2020 will be equipped with a smaller front camera lens for an improved screen-to-bezel ratio, suggesting the notch will be slimmer.

Second, the China Times cites an analyst at investment firm Credit Suisse in Asia who believes Apple plans to release one new iPhone model without a notch or Face ID in 2020. The analyst claims the iPhone will instead feature an under-screen front camera and full-screen acoustic fingerprint authentication, which sounds like a version of Touch ID that would work anywhere on the iPhone's display.

The analyst believes all three new iPhones will be notch-less in 2021, completing the transition to under-screen front cameras and full-screen fingerprint authentication. The report claims Apple is likely to develop its own under-screen fingerprinting technology rather than rely on a third-party provider.

Together, these rumors paint the following timeline:
  • 2019: Three new iPhones with Face ID and no changes to notch
  • 2020: Two new iPhones with Face ID and slimmer notches, one new notch-less iPhone with full-screen fingerprint authentication
  • 2021: Three new notch-less iPhones with full-screen fingerprint authentication

Just last week, a report claimed that Apple plans to launch a new iPhone with under-screen fingerprint technology, but the report suggested the device will be limited to the budget-conscious Chinese market, with the under-screen fingerprint technology thought to cost less than Face ID sensors.

Likewise, following meetings with suppliers in Apple's Asian supply chain in May, Barclays analysts claimed that 2020 iPhone models will have acoustic fingerprint technology that could allow for full-screen Touch ID.

The notch has been a controversial design decision since it debuted on the iPhone X in 2017, and it has always felt like a stopgap on the way to an iPhone with a truly edge-to-edge display, so these rumors certainly have some plausibility. However, these reports should still be viewed with some skepticism until they are corroborated by other sources. It is also early, so these plans could change.

The possibility of a notch-less iPhone does look increasingly promising. In January, for example, Apple supplier AMS launched new under-screen ambient light and proximity sensors, while Chinese smartphone makers Oppo and Xiaomi have recently showcased smartphones with under-screen front cameras.


Samsung has so far taken a different approach to avoid the notch, with its Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ smartphones featuring circular and pill-shaped front camera cutouts respectively in the top-right corner of the display.


Apple's exact approach if any remains to be seen, but it is certainly starting to sound like the notch might not be around for too much longer.


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Kuo on 2020 iPhones: 5.4-Inch and 6.7-Inch Models With 5G, 6.1-Inch Model With LTE, All With OLED Displays

Apple plans to release three new iPhones in the second half of 2020, including high-end 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch models with OLED displays and a lower-end 6.1-inch model with an OLED display, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Those display sizes line up with a DigiTimes report from a few months ago.


In a research note shared with Taiwanese media outlets today, Kuo said the 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch models will support 5G, while the 6.1-inch model will support up to LTE. Qualcomm is still expected to be Apple's primary supplier of 5G modems, complemented by Samsung, with RF power amplifiers supplied by Broadcom.


Kuo believes that all new iPhones will support 5G starting in 2021. He also believes that Apple will have its own 5G modem ready by 2022 to 2023, which should reduce its dependance on Qualcomm and Samsung.

The new 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch sizes suggest that Apple may be planning to shrink the size of the current 5.8-inch iPhone XS, a move that fans of smaller phones would certainly appreciate, while increasing the size of the current 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max. The iPhone XR would remain a 6.1-inch device.

Kuo usually provides English translations of his research notes after a short period. We'll update if there are any additional details to add.


This article, "Kuo on 2020 iPhones: 5.4-Inch and 6.7-Inch Models With 5G, 6.1-Inch Model With LTE, All With OLED Displays" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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2020 iPhones May Have Full-Screen Touch ID, New iPhone SE Based on iPhone 8 Also Possible Next Year

Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis and his associates today shared their expectations for both 2019 and 2020 model iPhones following their trip to Asia earlier this month, where they met with some suppliers within Apple's supply chain.

MacRumors render of 2019 iPhones with triple-lens rear cameras

Our summary of the research note, shared with MacRumors:Other rumors have suggested that 2019 iPhones will feature frosted glass casing, larger batteries, and a bilateral charging feature that allows users to charge AirPods or an Apple Watch by placing them on the back of the iPhone.

Apple will likely unveil its latest iPhones in September as usual at Steve Jobs Theater.

Related Roundup: 2019 iPhones

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TSMC Paves Way for 5nm A14 Chip in 2020 iPhones

Paving the way for a 5nm-sized A14 chip in 2020 iPhones, TSMC has announced the release of its complete 5nm chip design infrastructure.


TSMC's continued packaging advancements coupled with Apple's industry-leading mobile chip designs is beneficial for the performance, battery life, and thermal management of future iPhones. That will continue with the 5nm process:
Compared with TSMC's 7nm process, its innovative scaling features deliver 1.8X logic density and 15% speed gain on an ARM® Cortex®-A72 core, along with superior SRAM and analog area reduction enabled by the process architecture. The 5nm process enjoys the benefits of process simplification provided by EUV lithography, and is making excellent progress in yield learning, achieving the best technology maturity at the same corresponding stage as compared to TSMC's previous nodes.
TSMC's 5nm process is already in preliminary risk production and the chipmaker plans to invest $25 billion towards volume production by 2020.

TSMC has been Apple's exclusive supplier of A-series chips since 2016, fulfilling all orders for the A10 Fusion chip in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the A11 Bionic chip in the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, and the A12 Bionic chip in the latest iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.

TSMC's packaging offerings are widely considered to be superior to that of other chipmakers, including Samsung and Intel, so it's not surprising that its exclusivity is poised to continue with A13 chips in 2019 and A14 chips in 2020.

TSMC has been gradually shrinking the size of its dies over the years as it continues to refine its manufacturing process: the A10 Fusion is 16nm, the A11 Bionic is 10nm, and the A12 Bionic is 7nm. A13 chips will likely be 7nm+, benefitting from the process simplification of EUV lithography.


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Samsung Offers to Supply Foldable Displays to Apple and Google

In the wake of the launch of the Galaxy Fold, Samsung has begun shopping around its foldable display technology to other companies. ETNews (Translate) reports that they have specifically provided samples to Apple and Google:
According to the industry on the 27th, Samsung Display made a set of foldable display and delivered it to Apple. This set, which is actually powered like a smartphone, has a 7.2-inch size foldable panel. 7.2 inches is 0.1 inches smaller than the Samsung Folder 'Galaxy Fold'.

Samsung has historically been both supplier and competitor to Apple and other smartphone manufacturers and provides the OLED screens for Apple's top of the line iPhones. According to the report, Samsung doesn't intend to keep foldable technology to itself and is instead working to dominate as a supplier for the technology. Samsung is said to be able to produced about 2.4 million units a year at this time but is considering moving up to 10 million units a year depending on demand.

Apple has been known to be working on foldable display technology for years with patents on the implementation of similar technology. While there are ongoing rumors that Apple has been testing such technologies in the lab, Apple has not been speculated to implement the technology until 2020 at the earliest.


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Intel’s 5G Chips Won’t Appear in Mobile Phones Until 2020

Reuters reports that Intel has confirmed that it does not expect their 5G chips to be in consumer products until 2020.
Intel Corp executives said on Friday its 5G modem chips will not appear in mobile phones until 2020, raising the possibility its biggest customer, Apple Inc, will be more than a year behind rivals in delivering a device that uses the faster networks.
Intel's timeline is tied closely with Apple's product plans due to Apple's reliance on Intel chips for their iPhone modems. Previously a Qualcomm customer, Apple and Qualcomm have been at odds due to an ongoing legal battle between the two companies. In fact, Qualcomm has been reportedly unwilling to sell their chips to Apple because of the conflict.

Intel 5G Modem
That has left Apple reliant on Intel for their modem chips in the latest line of iPhones, though Apple has been exploring other vendors, and even working to develop their own chips. That plan, however, isn't expected to produce results until 2021, at least.

Apple's waiting until 2020 to deliver 5G iPhones doesn't come as a surprise as previous rumors have said the same. This statement by Intel, however, does seem to confirm some of those previous rumors.

Related Roundup: 2019 iPhones

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Barclays Believes There’s Still a ‘Good Chance’ Apple Will Have to Use Qualcomm 5G Modems in 2020 iPhones

While recent reports have suggested Intel will supply Apple with 5G modems for 2020 iPhones, the chipmaker has struggled with its consumer 5G modems, to the extent that Apple has allegedly "been unhappy" with Intel's progress.


Despite its apparent displeasure with Intel, a report in November claimed that Apple had not considered reopening conversations with Qualcomm about supplying 5G modems for 2020 iPhones. Instead, the report said Apple has held conversations with chipmaker MediaTek about 5G modems should Intel fail to deliver.

In a research note obtained by MacRumors today, however, analysts at investment bank Barclays said they "still believe there is a good chance Apple will have to use Qualcomm for the 5G modem in their 2020 phones." They also believe such a deal may result in the two companies settling their ongoing lawsuit.

It's a bold claim, as Apple and Qualcomm are engaged in a bitter legal battle around the world. The saga began in 2017 when Apple sued Qualcomm over anticompetitive business practices related to royalties. Qualcomm has denied the allegations and says the iPhone wouldn't exist without its innovations.

Apple COO Jeff Williams recently testified that Qualcomm has been unwilling to provide Apple with any new wireless chips since the legal battle began, with each company seemingly trying to gain the upper hand on the other. As of now, neither company appears willing to back down.

Qualcomm is widely considered to be leading the industry with its 5G efforts though, and there's a good chance its 5G modems will outperform similar offerings from Intel, so perhaps the two companies will find a way to settle their differences.


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Front Camera Lens on Future iPhones Could Be Invisible With Special ‘Pure Black’ Coating

iPhone camera lens supplier Largan Precision is developing a special black coating for front-facing smartphone camera lenses, according to Jeff Pu, an analyst at Chinese investment firm GF Securities.


Pu's research note, shared by Taiwanese publications Economic Daily News and MoneyDJ, claims that one or two smartphone makers could adopt the technology as early as 2020. Given that Largan already has a relationship with Apple, it is speculated that the special coating could be applied to future iPhones.

A translated version of the Economic Daily News report says the special coating would allow the front camera lens to "completely disappear." A translation of the MoneyDJ report says the coating will be "pure black," eliminating the "small spots" like those visible in the notch on the iPhone X and newer.

The front camera lens already blends into the notch pretty well on iPhones, but it is visible from certain angles and lighting conditions. The special coating would presumably make the lens completely invisible to the eye.

Apple design chief Jony Ive has long dreamed of an iPhone that resembles a single sheet of glass, and hiding the front camera lens would be yet another step towards that goal, even if it sounds like an insignificant change. This is the first time we've heard this rumor, however, so treat it with some skepticism.


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