The iPhone 13 could finally bring a smaller notch via a redesigned TrueDepth camera

Have you had enough of the notch at a time when Android handsets with hole-punch displays proliferate? If so, this year’s iPhone could finally bring us what we really want: a smaller notch.

This is according to DigiTimes, a Taiwanese trade publication that’s reliable in terms of predicting future Apple moves, but less so in terms of timeframes. The report claims that Apple has redesigned the TrueDepth camera system on the front to reduce the size of the notch.

Rearranging the TrueDepth components

On current iPhones, TrueDepth components such as the dot projector, flood illuminator and infrared receiver are positioned at both sides of the notch. With the iPhone 13, Apple is said to combine the infrared emitter and receiver into a single unit. As a result, these parts would be merged into one—similar to Apple’s LiDAR scanner on the back of the iPhone 12 Pro models.

Apple may also upgrade the contact image sensor to boost camera resolution.

A slide from Apple product event showing the TrueDepth camera system with sensors on the iPhone X

The rest of the DigiTimes article appears to corroborate several iPhone 13 camera improvements originally predicted by reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. According to him, low-light performance should be boosted by widening the aperture from f/2.4 to f/1.8. The iPhone 13 should also switch all rear cameras from five to six-element lenses to reduce distortion, especially on the wide-angle lenses. On top of that, the ultra-wide lens on the iPhone 13 should get auto-focus rather than have a fixed focus like its iPhone 12 counterpart.

Making the notch less notchy

This isn’t the first time we’re hearing about smaller iPhone notches.

Practically as soon as the iPhone X was released more than three years ago, people have been asking for smaller notches. But despite leaked images, hidden iCloud icons, reliable leakers and CAD drawings all suggesting that Apple with the iPhone 12 family would finally reduce the notch size, that hasn’t happened. In October 2020, serial leaker “Ice Universe” posted one of its cryptic tweets that suggest this year’s iPhone 13 will feature a notch that’s a bit shorter.

A report by Japanese-language Mac Otakara says the iPhone 13 will incorporate a smaller notch. Plus, the handset could have a slightly thicker body to accommodate the redesigned rear camera bump, said to be flush with the housing with no protruding lenses whatsoever.

Sensor-shift camera stabilization

The DigiTimes report adds that sensor-shift stabilization is coming to all three rear cameras on the iPhone 13. As opposed to regular optical image stabilization that moves the lens up to 5,000 times per second (five times faster than the iPhone 11 Pro) to compensate for the shakiness, sensor-shift stabilization instead moves just the camera sensor in all directions.

The technology was the exclusive domain of DSLR cameras, but not anymore. The iPhone 12 was the first iPhone to implement this technology on its wide-angle lens. With the iPhone 13, DigiTimes has it, the sensor-shift tech should expand to the telephoto and ultra-wide lenses.

Image Credit: Apple