With the iPhone 11 series already released, Apple's engineers should be focused on the development of the iPhone 12 series. It seems that the company has a big surprise in store for its consumers, who have held off from upgrading their smartphones in 2019. A patent application that recently surfaced might have revealed a new notch-less design that also holds some cutting-edge tech. Sources believe the documents are intended for the handset slated to come out in 2020.

Ask any avid Android fan and they will elaborate on how Apple has lost its innovative touch. Others will point out that some of the features of new iPhone models have been available for years on its biggest competitors. However, when the iPhone X came out, almost every other manufacturer immediately copied the controversial notch. Now, it seems the Cupertino-based tech firm could be on to something with its next mobile phone.

The news comes from Dutch technology publication LetsGoDigital, which details the latest patent application submitted by Apple in Japan. According to Forbes, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) published the documents on December 23. There is a total of three patents submitted, and each one came with four images of the suspected iPhone 12. As far as the industry knows, there might be more than three versions coming out in 2020, but it unclear if all or maybe a few will have this technology.

Gone are the rounded corners and the cutout that houses the Face ID cameras and earpiece. It seems that the latter has been relocated to the top bezel. Meanwhile, this new design shows the reduced bezel size and suggests new advanced tech that lurks beneath the display. Experts suggest the new iPhone might be equipped with an under-screen fingerprint scanner and under-screen cameras. The former is already being used by several Android handsets, while the latter has been demonstrated before.

On the other hand, Apple normally launches its annual hardware refresh towards the end of the year. It is possible for other manufacturers to release a smartphone with an under-screen camera and fingerprint scanner combined. Nevertheless, the documents detailed above are just patent applications that may or may not be for the iPhone 12. Hence, nothing is final until the company makes the announcement in 2020.

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The Russian plaintiff's lawyer said Apple was to blame for allowing him to download the app AFP / Johannes EISELE