'All-Screen' iPhone Under-Display Camera Enters Development

Apple's suppliers are developing under-display cameras for iPhones, bringing the possibility of a true 'all-screen' design.


LG Innotek Development of Under-Display Camera

According to The Elec, LG Innotek has started the preliminary development of under-display cameras (UDC) for smartphones. These cameras are placed under the display, resulting in a seamless 'all-screen' appearance when not in use.

Unlike traditional front camera modules, under-display cameras deliver less light to the image sensor. This is due to the loss of light as it passes through the display before reaching the camera lens, which can affect image quality and brightness.

To address this issue, LG Innotek is working on a special 'freeform optic' multiple lens system. This system aims to reduce optical aberrations and increase the light intensity ratio around the camera module, improving peripheral image quality. LG Innotek has been filing patents for this technology since last year.

LG Display's Involvement

LG Display, an affiliate of LG Innotek's LG Group, has also started developing under-panel camera (UPC) technology. The goal is to increase the light transmittance of the UPC to 20% by 2023 and 40% by 2024, aligning with Apple's expectations.

Although Apple has received a sample of the under-screen camera from an undisclosed vendor, it was deemed unsatisfactory in terms of performance. Therefore, further development is necessary before Apple adopts this technology in its iPhones.

Before fully implementing the under-screen camera, Apple is expected to introduce under-panel Face ID technology in the iPhone 17 Pro, set to launch in 2025. This model will be the last premium iPhone to feature a circular cutout for the front-facing camera. The under-screen camera technology is predicted to be incorporated into Apple's 'Pro' iPhone models in 2027, as stated by analyst Ross Young.

Future Possibilities and Expectations

With the development of under-display camera technology by LG Innotek and LG Display, the concept of a true 'all-screen' iPhone is becoming closer to reality.

The under-display camera technology aims to eliminate the need for notches or punch-hole cutouts, resulting in a seamless and immersive display experience for users.

While it may take a few more years for Apple to perfect this technology, the adoption of under-panel Face ID in 2025 indicates the company's commitment to pushing the boundaries of smartphone design.