When Apple introduced the Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro last year, it was an immediate hit. And with reports of Apple bringing the feature to the entire iPhone 15 lineup, Dynamic Island seemed like it would become a part of iOS and the iPhone for years to come.
That may not be the case. According to a report in Korea-based The Elec (translation), Apple is moving to under-display Face ID for the iPhone 16 Pro, leaving the selfie camera as the only obstacle on the screen. According to the publication’s sources, the Face ID sensors are not visible when the screen is on, although they still function normally.
Apple has tried over the past few iPhone revisions to reduce the distraction of the notch by shortening it by about 20 percent with the iPhone 13 and loosening it up with the iPhone 14 Pro’s hole+pill design, but it’s still becoming an important visual part of the screen. Apple embraced the iPhone 14 Pro’s new cutout with the Digital Island in iOS 16, but when it’s not in use there’s still a blank black bar at the top of the screen.
While eliminating the Face ID components will make the screen cleaner and more immersive, it will pose a problem for the Dynamic Island. Since Apple is unlikely to eliminate the feature altogether, it will have to become more of a dynamic circle that expands and contracts into a much smaller space. That can be even more distracting than it is right now.
The cutout change will probably only apply to the iPhone 16 Pro models, leaving the standard iPhone 16 with the same cutout as before. While Apple split the lines this year with the Pros with the Dynamic Island and the non-Pros with a static notch, it would be odd to remove it from the iPhone 16 Pro but keep it on the iPhone 16.
So we’ll have to see how Apple solves the problem. The Dynamic Island was a complete surprise when it arrived on the iPhone 14 Pro, so we may not know Apple’s plans for the cutout until the iPhone 16 Pro arrives.
The Elec also reports that Apple is expected to completely remove the hole when it moves to an under-bezel camera in 2025.