iPhone 12 and iOS 14 leak shows Apple is finally doing home screen widgets

The iPhone 12 might also have a smaller notch and a LiDAR scanner. Like they say: good artists copy, great artists steal!

Apple's next-generation iPhone could offer big design changes in both hardware and software, according to alleged drawings of the device produced by a Twitter user called "choco_bit." The illustrations show an "iPhone 12 Pro" with a smaller notch for the Face ID sensor and a LiDAR scanner that first debuted on the new iPad Pros last month sitting alongside three camera lenses for a four-cornered rear array.

But the most interesting nugget gleaned from the alleged images of the iPhone 12 reveal an iOS homescreen with widgets of varying size on it. In other words: after 13 years of resisting Android-like homescreen widgets, Apple might just rip it off for iOS 14.

The alleged images suggest that Apple's next phone could offer the biggest visual changes in years. Previous reports suggest the company will switch the device to use sharper corners, similar to the iPad Pro and the older iPhone 4.

It could be the biggest external design change since the iPhone X, which ditched the home button when it debuted in 2017. Alongside other changes like OLED screens across the range and the debut of 5G, Apple's 2020 smartphones are shaping up to be a major upgrade.

There are several reasons to believe this image may turn out accurate. The first is that leaked iOS 14 beta code suggests Apple is indeed working on a homescreen widget feature. 9to5Mac reported last week that it found evidence of the feature in beta code. Unlike the widgets to the left of the homescreen in iOS 13, these would be mixed in with other app icons, not like widgets on Android. The weather app, for example, could offer a more detailed view of the current temperature by using up two app icons' worth of space.

That said, one MacRumors user has suggested the drawings could be fake due to irregularities in the images when enhanced.

Looks familiar — Widgets on the homescreen isn't a new idea. In fact, user experience and interface designer Joseph Machalani mocked up a concept in 2014 that looks mighty similar to these alleged drawings.

In his concept for iOS, he imagined app-based widgets populating the homescreen, showing snippets of relevant information without a user having to open the corresponding app. The idea was inspired by the tile interface Microsoft created with Windows 8 and later rolled out to Windows Phone (RIP).

A designer's concept for iOS widgets from back in 2014.Jay Machalani

Homescreen widgets wouldn't be the first time has cribbed from Android. In the past, Apple has added dark mode and a swipe-based keyboard to new versions of iOS — all features Android had for years. Apple, however, has a knack for taking existing ideas and making them prettier and more refined.

The rumor mill — The iPhone 12 hardware changes have also been previously rumored. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who works with TF International Securities, claimed in July 2019 that the company was planning to reduce the size of the notch for its 2020 iPhone. The cutout at the top of the device is needed to house the depth sensors for Face ID.

Leaker Jon Prosser shared the information above for Apple's iPhone 12 and 12 Pro lineup. He claims the iPhone 12 will come with 5.4 and 6.1-inch displays, an aluminum body, and sport two rear cameras. The iPhone 12 Pro will reportedly come in 6.1 and 6.7-inch displays with a stainless steel body, and have three cameras and a LiDAR scanner. All of the new iPhone 12 devices will allegedly have smaller notches, A14 chips, and 5G.

Apple is also expected to include a LiDAR scanner with the next iPhone. The company debuted a LiDAR scanner with the iPad Pro last month, where it's used to measure distance from objects. This capability is intended to improve augmented reality performance, a key focus of the company as rumors suggest it's developing an AR headset.

A launch date for the next iPhone range is unclear, particularly with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but Apple typically outlines its plans during a conference in September.