Remember when Apple introduced the iPhone X? It was the first iPhone to feature a display notch, something that quickly gained almost all-encompassing infamy. This little black bump on the screen was proof that Apple had lost touch and could no longer innovate. What would Steve Jobs think? Oh, how we all laughed.
Well, Apple wasn’t laughing. We didn’t know it, but the notch was the start of something really amazing. With the introduction of the iPhone 14 Pro, Apple showed us what it all has in store. Turns out the notch would turn into the incredible Dynamic Island, giving Apple the last laugh. It’s the position I never knew I needed, but good lord, do I ever need it now?.
A wonderful surprise
In case you missed it Apple’s September 7 event, Dynamic Island, is a total reinvention of the notch in a way no one saw coming. Instead of a static black plate with the Face ID sensors and front camera, you now get a shape-shifting, target-changing, definition-defying plate that seems to do everything you need. It has a stupid name, it’s true, but that’s where the stupidity ends and the superlative begins.
Playing music? Swipe the app and your playing information will appear on the Dynamic Island. Incoming phone call? The Dynamic Island expands to show you who’s on the other end of the line. Want to verify a purchase with your face? Look, there’s the Face ID animation, coming out of the Dynamic Island. You get the idea.
Who in their right mind would take something that was like, well, functional and make it so merry? Who would see a grudging concession – you can’t hide the Face ID sensors under the display, at least not yet – and turn it into something you’ll really love? I can’t think of anyone other than Apple who could do this.
Tell me, do you think Google would have the chops and the chutzpah to try this? Would Samsung even dare? Not really. Samsung probably lets its interns write crazy tweets mocking Apple’s latest feature right now. Give the company a few months to follow up with its own C-list imitation.
The design freak’s dream
Apple took something that was a universal symbol of ridicule, a reason to avoid the iPhone, a “yes, but” refutation of every iPhone selling point, and completely reversed the script. It’s the most unexpected surprise of all Apple events I can remember, and by some distance the most welcome.
You might think I’m exaggerating here. After all, it’s just The Notch 2.0, right? wrong. The notch was faint, inert and pedestrian. Sure, it housed something great, but the form was missing. And for the design freaks at Apple, enough just isn’t enough. Everything must be great. The Dynamic Island has rectified that in spectacular fashion. It was fitting, then, that it was introduced by Apple’s Chief Design Freak, Alan Dye.
This is a feature that you couldn’t get with any other smartphone, as it completely relies on both software and hardware working in perfect harmony. No other company can do that.
But it is also more than that. It’s one of those rare features that makes you a little giddy, in the same way as another hardware-software collaboration – Universal Control – made me feel. Say what you love about Apple, but no one else can replicate that feeling in the same way.
Okay, enough googling. Time to start saving for a new iPhone 14 Pro.