Under-display Face ID is – along with under-display Touch ID – one of those evergreen iPhone rumors. Now another report suggests that it will make an appearance (or lack of same… ) in the iPhone 16, and will be limited to the Pro models.

The report suggests that this will be the next stage after the Dynamic Island, with just a single punch-hole cutout for the front-facing camera…

It seems hard to imagine now, but Touch ID was a big deal when it was first introduced in the iPhone 5S. Apple wasn’t the first to include a fingerprint sensor, but it was far more sophisticated than most, and integrated neatly into the Home button.

Time moved on, however, and the large chin space needed for the Home button became a liability. With the iPhone X, Apple moved instead to Face ID, enabling a whole new design far closer to the long-term vision of the iPhone as “a single slab of glass.”

But Face ID brought its own problems. Apple initially embedded the necessary tech into the infamous “notch.” While many of us found this quickly faded from view in use, and it even became something of an Apple design emblem, others disliked the quirky cutout.

With the iPhone 14 lineup, the notch was relegated to the base models, with the Pro models getting a new design based on “hole-punch and pill” cutouts. Apple disguised these separate cutouts with a clever piece of UI – the Dynamic Island – which not only made them seem like a single slot, but where the slot took on a life of its own.

While many of us positively like the UI, not everyone has been immediately sold on it. Either way, it’s clear that Apple is currently making a virtue out of a necessity, and that this isn’t the end of the in-display tech journey.

Under-display Face ID

The next step in iPhone biometrics would be to embed them beneath the screen, losing the need for either a notch or a pill-shaped slot.

Apple has patents for both under-display Touch ID and under-display Face ID, and at this stage it could still go in either direction. Each form of biometrics has its fans, and some even hope that Apple will incorporate both – though this would be extremely unlikely, given the cost.

A patent application back in 2021 focused more on embedded Touch ID, but did also reference Face ID.

As noted above, an electronic device can implement through-display imaging for any suitable imaging, sensing, data aggregation, or light capture purpose including, but not limited to […] face recognition.

Patently Apple spotted that report in The Elec on the rumor of the Dynamic Island coming to all four iPhone 15 models also contained a brief reference to the iPhone 16.

Apple is expected to make a big change to the lower lineup OLED in the iPhone 15 series this year, and to apply the ‘Under Panel Face ID’ function that hides Face ID under the screen from the Pro lineup next year in the iPhone 16 series.

This would mean that we’d be left with only a single punch-hole for the camera. (While hiding the front-facing camera beneath the display is also technically possible, today’s tech is way too crude. Many – even most – of the recent iPhone improvements have been to the camera features, so Apple isn’t about to do anything to compromise performance just to hide it.)

9to5Mac’s Take

As mentioned earlier, this is a rumor that crops up regularly, and an unkind person might point out that it was the same source that last year suggested under-display Face ID would debut in the iPhone 15 Pro.

However, The Elec is this time supported by much earlier reports from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and display analyst Ross Young.

It’s pretty much a given that Apple will embed biometrics beneath the screen at some point, and personally my money would be on Face ID rather than Touch ID. Whether 2024 will be the year… well, we’ll see. But there does seem to be a growing consensus that the iPhone 16 Pro models will be the point at which the patents become reality.

This content was originally published here.