Several reports have suggested that the iPhone 8’s front would look like a single sheet of glass. By now, there is a lot of proof (including a patent granted to Apple) that the Cupertino company will embed the home button and fingerprint sensor in the display itself. But it was unclear how Apple would get rid of the top bezel, which contains a proximity sensor, an ambient light sensor (ALS), the front-camera, and the front speaker.
Apple doesn’t want any wasted space in iPhone 8
Due to the presence of all these sensors and components, shrinking the top bezel could be a complex affair. But Apple has already been working to find a way around it. On Tuesday, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted Apple a patent titled “Electronic devices with display-integrated light sensors.” Light sensors are usually displaced from the display. Though it makes sense from a production standpoint, it leads to wasted space, says Apple Insider.
In the iPhones, the proximity sensor and ambient light sensor are placed above the display, near the speaker. The new patent describes a technology that would help Apple incorporate the light sensor into the display without affecting the functionality of the sensor or the display. Apple proposes adding sensors on display layers that already have conductive traces for power.
According to the patent documents, it could be accomplished by positioning sensors at the extreme edge of the display beyond the touch-sensitive layer. Another method is to overlay the sensors on top of a display layer. In any case, the sensor and display circuitry are protected by a transparent layer of glass or plastic. Embedding sensors in the display could finally pave the way for a full-screen display.
The technology can be used in any device that contains sensors in the bezel, including the iPhones and iPads. Illustrations in Apple’s patent application show smartphones, tablets, as well as laptops. The patent documents also mention that the new technology could be used with OLED displays. Apple is reportedly planning to switch from LCD to OLED screen with the iPhone 8.
Getting rid of the bottom bezel
The patent was first filed in June 2015. Last week, Apple patented another technology to embed the home button and fingerprint scanner in the display. A capacitive sensing technology works through gaps in space, allowing the Touch ID sensor to sit under the display. Apple’s technology involves using electrostatic lenses across an array of capacitive sensing elements to capture an accurate reading of your fingerprint from the display.