iPhone 17 Pro Could Finally Hide Apple's Face ID Sensor

We've long salivated over the potential for under-display camera tech to rid us of horror-inducing notches and hole punches. Some companies quickly jumped on the new display and camera tech that allowed your smartphone to retain its optical characteristics, without stealing from the display's total real estate.

The most notable of these under-display cameras has been Samsung with its Galaxy Z Fold 3 (and later), among others. While this technology is theoretically amazing, the total implementation leaves a bit to be desired in practice.

These cameras can severely detract from the sensor's overall potential. Smartphone reviewers have lamented noticeable drops in detail compared to their unobstructed counterparts. Despite the contiguous display experience it's meant to enable, you can still notice a slight quality difference in the display area where the camera is situated.

That's why it's unsurprising that Apple hasn't been quick to jump on the bandwagon. The Californian computing giant unashamedly sticks to its guns in a mission to "do it best" instead of being the first, so it hasn't rushed to implement the tech.

As of the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, Apple thought it best to redesign the iPhone's unsightly notch with a software-fueled "Dynamic Island" that smartly wraps a clearly visible camera sensor with an interactive control center. Dynamic Island is a neat compromise over the notch, but Apple would likely prefer to ditch these imperfections altogether. It's reportedly planning for that, but according to the latest rumors, we might be waiting longer than initially anticipated.

We might be waiting until the iPhone 17

It's wild to think we're already pondering the iPhone 17's features before we've even had a chance to see what's on the horizon for 2023. Yet, industry analyst Ross Young, whose company analyzes and reports on supply chain developments, has published a roadmap that shows the firm's projections for Apple's display developments.

In addition to expectations that we'll see Apple's "ProMotion" 120Hz OLED display in all iPhone 17 models, the graphic suggests we'll see the "pill" design with Dynamic Island in the Pro models until the iPhone 17. With the 17th model lineup, Apple will finally tuck its Face ID sensors beneath the display. 

We'll reportedly still have to make do with a visible hole for the front-facing camera until 2027's iPhone 19, when Apple is finally expected to introduce under-display sensors for all its camera modules across both Pro and standard iPhones.

This new timeline suggests a one-year delay compared to Apple's original plans. Apparently, Apple will take extra time to perfect the technology and ensure it meets the company's lofty standards, at which time the industry is sure to point out how late to the party it is. However, as we've seen with other innovations Apple has lagged on, the iPhone's mainstream appeal won't suffer significantly if the resulting product is better than anything before it.