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Rumor | Apple decides to shrink next-gen Face ID chips by up to 50%

Face ID tech might get an upgrade in 2021. (Source: Apple)
Face ID tech might get an upgrade in 2021. (Source: Apple)
The latest leaks increasingly insist that the iPhone 13 series will be the one to finally launch with a smaller notch. A new report might help explain how the Cupertino giant plans to bring this about: by cutting a necessary Face ID-enabling component in half, or as close as it can get.
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Face ID is often touted as one of the most effective forms of mobile biometric authentication, thanks to the dense matrix of "dots" projected onto the user's face in order to build up a stored image for a given iPhone to "recognize", via its IR emitter. This component is backed up by others deeper within the phone's internals, one of which is its associated VCSEL chip.

Vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers are made of specific type of semiconductors that can emit light at right angles to this chip's upper layers. Therefore, VCSELs play an important role in Face ID's dot-projection mechanism, and have arguably earned their place in the iPhone's signature notch.

Then again, according to the Taiwanese industrial media outlet DigiTimes, it may have to make some adaptations in order to stay there. Apple is reportedly now looking to source VCSELs of between 40% and 50% smaller than before.

This might be great news for fans of the rumored smaller notch in the upcoming iPhone 13 series - if not for the supplier that might see its order from Apple slashed by as much as half year-on-year. On the other hand, indications that these smaller VCSEL chips might also be destined for next-gen iPads (thus potentially boosting their screen-to-body ratio) might help temper this rumored loss of business.

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Deirdre O'Donnell
Deirdre O'Donnell - Senior Tech Writer - 4363 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
I became a professional writer and editor shortly after graduation. My degrees are in biomedical sciences; however, they led to some experience in the biotech area, which convinced me of its potential to revolutionize our health, environment and lives in general. This developed into an all-consuming interest in more aspects of tech over time: I can never write enough on the latest electronics, gadgets and innovations. My other interests include imaging, astronomy, and streaming all the things. Oh, and coffee.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 05 > Apple decides to shrink next-gen Face ID chips by up to 50%
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2021-05-15 (Update: 2021-05-15)