A recent research note from a Chinese investment company suggests that future versions of the iPhone might come with a new form of front camera technology that makes the lenses appear invisible.
Citing a note from GF Securities analyst Jeff Pu, MacRumors reports that Largan Precision, a company that supplies Apple with camera lenses for the iPhone, is working on a new type of black coating for the lenses of front-facing smartphone cameras. Translated versions of the note suggest that the “pure” black coating will allow the lenses to “completely disappear,” which could mean the tiny spots found on the notch of Apple’s iPhone X and iPhone XS series could become a thing of the past if the technology is used.
In his note, Pu wrote that there could be one or two smartphone manufacturers who could use the technology by 2020, and while he didn’t specify any company names, MacRumors noted that Apple could be one of those companies, given its existing relationship with Largan.
According to BGR, the possibility of future iPhones shipping with such a feature ties in with an existing design that had become a “must-have” since the release of last year’s iPhone X. While the notch found on all iPhones is mainly there for aesthetic purposes, BGR wrote that it essentially cuts the device’s display in half, allowing for a “compromise” in the meantime as Apple tries to develop a true all-screen smartphone.
Front Camera Lens on Future iPhones Could Be Hidden With Special 'Pure Black' Coating https://t.co/PCwE5K7cSg – iPhone camera lens supplier Largan Precision is developing a special black coating for front-facing smartphone camera lenses, according to Jef… pic.twitter.com/klG5V2JJT1
— Dr Vicente Nario (@DrBicentenario) September 28, 2018
Although Apple is expected to work on ways to create TrueDepth and FaceTime cameras that could be placed behind the iPhone’s screen, BGR noted that this could require other features such as the front-facing speaker to go behind the display as well. This might necessitate the use of new forms of technology to “beautify” notches on an all-screen smartphone, though as BGR cautioned, the black coating Largan is reportedly working on won’t necessarily allow Apple or other smartphone makers to place cameras underneath the display as hoped.
“It’ll just make the lens invisible. If Apple ends up developing a display that can be overlaid on top of cameras, then there might be no need for the pure black coating,” wrote BGR’s Chris Smith.
Similarly, MacRumors predicted that the black coating could simply be another step for Apple toward its quest to fulfill design head Jony Ive’s vision of an iPhone that “resembles a single sheet of glass,” with the front camera lens conveniently hidden beneath the screen.