Tech

Apple fortune teller says smaller iPhone 12 will have a tinier notch

And a new iPad Air will have Touch ID in the power button.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Freakishly accurate tech analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is out with a new research note ahead of Apple's event scheduled for tomorrow. Among other predictions, Kuo says the Apple Watch Series 6 will retain its design but add a blood oxygen monitor. He also claims an iPad Air with Touch ID in the power button is coming (just like the leaks said last month).

A new 5.4-inch iPhone 12 will feature a narrower notch, he adds, though Apple isn't expected to unveil that device tomorrow.

No iPhone tomorrow — The "Time Flies" event is slated to begin tomorrow at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET, and as the name implies is expected to focus mainly on the Apple Watch as well as the new iPad Air. The iPhone 12 was confirmed by Apple to be delayed in its release by several weeks, and consequently Kuo anticipates an October announcement for the phone.

It's possible that Apple is sticking with Touch ID for the iPad Air due to the cost of its Face ID depth sensors. By ditching the front-facing home button with Touch ID in favor of one embedded in the power button, the display size could be increased without growing the device's footprint. Kuo says more iPads may get this configuration in the future. Keep in mind this is all rumor and speculation.

Cost and benefit — Kuo says three models of the iPhone 12 will be released in sizes of 5.4-inches, 6.1-inches, and 6.7-inches. That smaller sized device will have a smaller notch in order to better accommodate information in top left and right corners.

You may reasonably be wondering why Apple wouldn't reduce the notch on all the iPhones. That, too, likely comes down to cost and benefit trade-offs. Apple already produces sensors in the current size for the existing iPhone and therefore there should be plenty of inventory available. And consumers are unlikely to care much.

One odd suggestion by Kuo is that every model of the iPhone 12 will be available in two separate variants offering either mid-band or ultra-fast mmWave 5G antennas. Unless you already have good 5G coverage in your area, there's not a strong case for upgrading to the iPhone 12 specifically for 5G. Other rumors have indicated that Apple may reserve mmWave antennas for only the most expensive 6.7-inch iPhone because service coverage is expected to be minimal for a long time.

Check back tomorrow for Input's full coverage of the Time Flies event.