Since the last few weeks, we’ve been seeing patents for under-display front-camera module from almost all popular companies, including LG, Oppo, Huawei, etc. Following Samsung’s path with the in-display camera sensor patent, Apple has registered their own patent of the technology as well.
The US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) revealed Apple’s new patent, for an in-display camera sensor. Apple’s patent is a bit different from Samsung’s. In Samsung’s patent, all the sensors along with the camera, such as proximity sensor, illumination sensor, etc., are under the display. In Apple’s patent, only the camera sensor is under the display, they haven’t mentioned any other sensors. We don’t know how Apple plans to incorporate other sensors under the display yet.
The patent itself is very thorough and detailed. It explains everything, with references to patents dating back to January 2012. The patent is not exclusively for the iPhone. It mentions all kinds of devices, which means if this technology does become a reality, other devices such as MacBooks and iPads might also enjoy it.
The patent shows a hole in the top right of the display, for a camera. The camera module will be located under the cover glass. The patent also covers the construction plan. It is also revealed in the patent that the cover glass, which is the actual display of the phone, will be made up of Corning’s DVTS technology, which is a kind of an aluminum silicate glass. This kind of glass is very tough, tougher than today’s Gorilla glass technology. With Apple investing a lot of money into Corning’s R&D department, it is very plausible to say that we might first see this display implemented on an iPhone device.
According to many analysts, this under-display camera technology is still in its infant stage. The screen on top of the camera blocks a lot of light coming through, which makes this very complicated. Still, it is great to see companies striving to introduce cool new technologies. If this does become a reality, we’ll be seeing smartphones with 100% screen-to-body ratios and no annoying motorized notches in no time. The patent also contains a flowchart, outlining the whole process.
In the patent, Apple details that electronic devices, especially smartphones, have a layered structure. If Apple manages to have a cover glass above the display that can be transparent, this type of technology is realistically possible. We’ll see what Apple has in stock for us next year, with the upcoming 2019 iPhones. Till then, all we can do is wait.