There was a rumor that this Fall’s iPhone would have a camera under the display, so it could ditch the notch. Recently, this rumor was quashed. But a just-released patent shows that all is not lost. The patent is called “Electronic device display for through-display imaging”.
It shows the upgraded technology will be coming to the iPhone and Mac, and will allow a camera to be placed under the display itself to permit biometric authentication and more. Depending on exactly where on the display the camera sits, it will replace either Touch ID or Face ID, it seems.
The patent explains how the technology will work, saying, “An optical imaging array is aligned with the aperture. Above the aperture, the display is arranged and/or configured for increased optical transmittance. For example, a region of the display above, or adjacent to, the imaging aperture can be formed with a lower pixel density than other regions of the display, thereby increasing inter-pixel distance (e.g., pitch) and increasing an area through which light can traverse the display to reach the optical imaging array.”
It also acknowledges that current solutions such as a notch or a wide bezel to accommodate the camera are not ideal. It says, “This conventional construction undesirably increases the apparent size of a bezel region circumscribing the display, while also undesirably increasing the size and volume of the housing of the electronic device.”
In the case of Touch ID, a side-firing illumination would capture portions of the user’s fingerprint.
Of course, there’s much more to it than that. The patent goes on, “A display stack include operations, techniques, and constructions such as, but not limited to: locally reducing pixel density of a display stack above an imaging aperture; locally altering a pixel or subpixel distribution pattern or arrangement above an imaging aperture; locally altering…