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iPhone 14 design rumors: Buh-bye, notch; hello, hole and pill cutouts

The iPhone 14 is expected to debut this year, but will it drop the notch for a pill and hole design? Here's what rumors say.

iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max
Patrick Holland/CNET

Apple's iPhone 13 debuted last year and its successor is probably still some months away. But, it's never too early for the consumer tech community to start buzzing about what the iPhone 14 might look like. We don't know much about the next iPhone's release date, new features or even pricing right now, but the latest rumors suggest the iPhone 14 could sport a notchless design with a pill and hole-shaped cutout. This is a deviation from earlier buzz that suggested the new iPhone would feature the hole-shaped cutout alone. 

We're collecting all the iPhone 14 design buzz and will be updating this story as the rumor mill continues to turn, so be sure to bookmark this page for later. Here's what we've heard so far, from gossip about a more durable titanium alloy body to a possible foldable iPhone

iPhone 14 display: Turning it down a notch

This one has persisted for years, but one of the biggest rumors is what the iPhone 14 won't have. After introducing the notch on the iPhone X back in 2017, Apple could finally ditch it this year. The company will trade it out for a smaller hole-punch camera in the Pro models, according to noted Apple analyst Ming Chi Kuo. A hole-punch design refers to a display with only a small circular cutout for the front camera, as seen on a number of recent Samsung launches including the Galaxy S21 Ultra and Galaxy Z Flip 3

Instead of a hole-punch design, display analyst Ross Young hypothesizes the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max will have a hole and pill-shaped cutout to accommodate for the front-facing camera and Face ID. The pill-shaped cutout is said to hold the front and Face ID camera, while the hole-punch is believed to be for the Face ID dot projector, according to a January report from MacRumors.

Right now, the notch is home to the components that make Face ID work, meaning Apple may need to shrink all that tech in order make a notchless iPhone a reality. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman also hinted at the notch's removal in a September edition of his Power On newsletter, wherein he predicted a "complete redesign" for the iPhone 14. 

iphone-x-notch-6142

The iPhone X made the notch a thing.

Josh Miller/CNET

iPhone 14 camera design: Bumping down

Another design feature rumored to be on Apple's hit list is that chunky camera bump. The iPhone 13 lineup features a protruding camera bump, which houses two or three lenses depending on the model. According to Jon Prosser, who has a hit-and-miss accuracy record, the iPhone of the future will eliminate the bump entirely, which could mean a thicker chassis for camera components. According to Prosser, the iPhone 14's body is going to be a "thick boy." But could it be thick enough to include all that camera hardware without the chunky camera setup on the back? I'm taking this rumor with a grain of salt. 

iphone-14-press-80-5x

Early renders of the iPhone 14 from Jon Prosser suggest a notchless design and flush camera setup.

Jon Prosser

iPhone 14 chassis: Tougher and lighter 

Speaking of the iPhone's chassis, Prosser also said the iPhone 14 Pro could receive a titanium alloy body for the first time, replacing the stainless steel one. This rumor was first referenced in a July report by JP Morgan Chase's China office. Apple has previously used titanium alloy in select Apple Watch models including the Series 7. Titanium alloy rivals steel in toughness, while also weighing less than stainless steel. Titanium is also more resistant to scratches, corrosion and bending.

Will the iPhone 14 fold? 

Probably not. To be clear, we can't say for certain whether a foldable iPhone will ever see the light of day, but I'm holding out hope that it could happen in the next few years. A Bloomberg report published in January said Apple already has a working prototype of a foldable iPhone display, but didn't confirm a launch timeline. Other outlets, including Taiwan's Economic Daily, pinned down 2022 as the year the foldable iPhone will come to fruition. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has revised his forecast to two years later -- in 2024, compared to 2023 previously. 

Remember, the iPhone 13 was an incremental upgrade from iPhone 12. That means it's potentially setting the stage for a sweeping design overhaul when the iPhone 14 or 15 comes around, just as Apple revamped its phones' look with the iPhone X