Oh, Boy: Apple Plans to Bring the Infamous iPhone Notch to Car Windshields

In the fall of 2017, Apple took the world by surprise with a design change on the all-new iPhone X that eventually set a new trend in the mobile industry.
Most cars already come with some sort of notch on the windshield 1 photo
Photo: autoevolution
It was the infamous notch, a cutout at the top of the display which Apple used to install the front-facing parts, including the components powering the facial recognition system, the selfie camera, and others, all while trying to offer improved screen estate.

While some, including Samsung, initially mocked Apple’s decision to use a notch on the modern iPhone, this questionable design choice eventually became a common thing, so now there are plenty of phones out there with the same feature.

And now, Apple is getting ready to advance to phase two of the notch rollout: the company is envisioning a way to bring it to the windshield as part of a modern sensor implementation supposed to power an autonomous car.

As spotted in a recent report, Apple describes the whole thing in a patent called “sensor enclosure and glass panels for sensor enclosures,” where the company explains how sensors would be installed in a car to collect data, which would then be used for a self-driving vehicle.

The abstract section of the patent provides us with a closer look at how Apple sees this implementation, obviously without actually mentioning the term “notch.”

A vehicle includes an exterior body panel, an opening formed through the exterior body panel, a housing that is connected to the exterior body panel, wherein the housing includes side walls that extend around an enclosed space and an open front portion that is positioned at the opening formed through the exterior body panel, an optical-grade tempered glass panel that is connected to the housing and positioned at the opening that is formed through the exterior body panel, an emissive sensor component that is located in the enclosed space."

Apple has its very own idea of this "enclosed space," and if you think it sounds familiar, it's because it describes the design choice we discussed abot.

"[It] is defined by the housing and the optical-grade tempered glass panel, and a receptive sensor component that is located in the enclosed space that is defined by the housing and the optical-grade tempered glass panel," Apple says.

So, in theory, Apple wants a small notch at the top of the windshield where sensors can be installed and thus be able to collect data in a more effective manner. On the other hand, most cars already come with a small notch-like design in the place where the interior mirror is installed, so maybe Apple finds a way to use that and thus avoid changing our windshields forever.

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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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