This story is part of Focal Point iPhone 2023, CNET's collection of news, tips and advice around Apple's most popular product.
Apple's rumored iPhone 14 is expected to debut today at its next launch event -- follow our iPhone event live blog to stay up to date. But ahead of the big announcement, fans are wondering what the new iPhone will look like. Only Apple has the answer for now, although the ever-churning rumor mill has given us a few clues into the iPhone 14's possible design.
We will be updating this story as we hear more, 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 notchless screen. For more iPhone 14 rumors, check out everything we've heard about its release date and price. Plus, here's all the new features we want to see.
iPhone 14 display: turning it down a notch
This one has persisted for years, but one of the biggest rumors is about 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 Samsung launches like the Galaxy S22 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 the front-facing camera and Face ID. The pill-shaped cutout would 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. The hole-and-pill design is depicted in supposed renders of the Pro published by 91Mobiles. Meanwhile, alleged renders on MySmartPrice show the base iPhone 14 keeping the notch.
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 his Power On newsletter in September last year, wherein he predicted a "complete redesign" for the iPhone 14.
The iPhone 14's rumored hole-and-pill display emerged in schematics on Chinese social media site Weibo, and were later shared on YouTube by leaker Jon Prosser. Although we won't know what the iPhone's design will look like until it's revealed, the schematics offer a glimpse at the next iPhone's possible display.
iPhone 14 camera design: bumping down
Another design feature rumored to be on Apple's list to remove 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 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.
Speaking of slimming things down, leaker ShrimpApplePro tweeted that the Pro Max version of the iPhone 14 will come with smaller bezels than those of the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
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 2021 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.
iPhone 14 size: same-but-different bezels for Pro models
Apple's last two iPhone lineups have featured the same 6.1-inch size for the base model, going up to 6.7 inches for the Pro Max. According to a Nikkei Asian Review report in July last year, Apple will stick with these sizes for the iPhone 14 series, but eliminate the 5.4-inch Mini. This rumor is corroborated by a March report from 9to5Mac. Reports showed sluggish sales of the iPhone 12 Mini, so it'll be no surprise if Apple ends up retiring the small phone in 2022.
Although the size of the next iPhone is expected to stay the same, the display bezels for the Pro Max are rumored to be 20% smaller compared to previous iPhone generations, according to CAD renders shared in April by Twitter leaker ShrimpApplePro. This means the screen would be slightly larger. However, it's important to note that this rumor should be taken with a grain of salt since ShrimpApplePro doesn't have an extensive track record to support their speculations.
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, while others suggest 2023. Display analyst Ross Young, however, suggests the foldable iPhone could be delayed until 2025.
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.