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Don't expect under-screen Face ID tech until iPhone 18 at the earliest

A publication that draws info from Apple's supply chain is moving the goalposts again and is now saying that Face ID under the screen isn't coming until "after 2026."

The rumors of an all-screen iPhone with no camera penetrations are evergreen and go back about five years. Release of an all-screen iPhone always seemed to be coming "next year," a new supply chain report has pushed the arrival back again, but this time, by well more than a year.

A report from The Elec on early Wednesday says that a new screen technology from existing Apple supplier LG will be used to fulfill Apple's want for all of its cameras under the screen and not visible to the user. The report also claims that Apple has looked at similar technology from Samsung, but wasn't impressed with what was delivered.

The report says the technology isn't coming until "after 2026." It's unclear if this is a bad machine translation or literal. This means that the technology isn't slated to release next year as it has been previously suggested, but is instead, at the earliest, going to arrive in the iPhone 18, and perhaps not until the iPhone 19.

This is, of course, contrary to what the publication said in January 2023, and in several other instances before that. In January, it said that the technology was headed to the iPhone 16 Pro lineup in 2024. Before then, it suggested that it was coming to the iPhone 15, iPhone 14, and iPhone 13 in previous years.

Wednesday's report is very similar to the January 2023 report. It also says that the Face ID dot projector would be under-screen, and the camera would initially still have a cutout.

In April 2022, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also predicted that the iPhone 16 Pro could move Face ID below the screen. Kuo believes that "high-end iPhones in 2024 would adopt an under-display front camera."

The development feels inevitable, and as we said to lead off this piece, an all-screen device has been rumored for a very long time. It has also consistently been a moving target for rumor generators.

Several devices on the Android side of the fence already have an all-screen device. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 5G has an under-display camera inside, as do offerings from Asus, OnePlus, Oppo, and Xiaomi.

The Elec has good sources within Apple's supply chain. It is notably less accurate regarding the interpretation of what Apple plans to do with the technologies that the supply chain delivers.