While the trend of having a punch hole display is seemingly here to stay, few manufacturers are addressing the aesthetic result of this trend. OPPO has recently applied for a pair of patents that shows a way of masking it – by putting an app tray at the top, right where the punch hole is.
One of the patents shows just that – a row of apps located at the top of the phone instead of the usual spot at the bottom. There looks to be an option to swipe to either side to get access to other apps, but the camera app stays put, where the punch hole is. This gives the illusion that the punch hole and the camera app are one, so to say.
The second patent shows the camera app icon unlocked from its position, away from the punch hole. This doesn’t look like it does much besides showing that the the app icon can be moved around, and the fact that there is indeed a punch hole there. Doing so also serves a secondary function of turning the camera off.
While it’s an interesting way to mask the otherwise distracting punch hole’s existence, it also makes the front camera prone to getting stained by fingerprints. This would be fine if you’re not a selfie kind of person, but is otherwise counter-intuitive if you are. And of course, patents don’t necessarily lead to a production product.