Apple’s Korean suppliers have begun developing smartphone under-display cameras (UDC), paving the way for the first iPhone with a true “all-screen” appearance.
According to The Elec, LG Innotek has entered the preliminary development of the UDC, which sits under the display and does not result in a visible hole in the panel when the camera is not in use.
A UPC differs from a typical front camera module, since it delivers less light to the image sensor. This is because light loss occurs as it passes through the display area before it reaches the camera lens, which can result in a deterioration in image quality and brightness.
To compensate for this, LG Innotek is developing a special “freeform optic” multiple lens system that can reduce optical aberrations and increase the light intensity ratio around the optical module to improve peripheral image quality. LG Innotek has been publishing patents for the technology since December last year, and more are expected now that development has begun.
LG Display, an affiliate of LG Innotek’s LG Group, has also started UPC development, according to the report. LG Display aims to increase the UPC’s light transmittance to 20% by 2023 and 40% after 2024, bringing it closer to the standard that Apple expects. Apple reportedly already received a UPC sample from an unnamed vendor, but rated it as unsatisfactory in performance.
Before Apple uses the perfected under-screen camera technology, it is expected to adopt under-panel Face ID technology in 2025’s iPhone 17 Pro. This is expected to be Apple’s last premium model to include a circular cutout for the front-facing camera. Apple will then adopt the UPC in 2027’s “Pro” iPhone…
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