The one thing everyone can agree on when it comes to “Dynamic Island” is that it’s a bad name. Otherwise, opinions on the actual usability or aesthetics of the new interactive pill-shaped cutout of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max have completely split. Personally, I was sold from the start, but I know colleagues who hate it, including my colleague Karthik who wrote this excellent op-ed explaining why Dynamic Island creates more problems than it solves.
I don’t disagree with his points actually. Going from the notch to the pill-shaped cutout doesn’t give the new iPhones any significant extra screen real estate. The cutout actually sits lower on the screen than the notch ever did. The smart UI elements built by Apple as part of the Dynamic Island UI are indeed hard to reach with one hand, though it’s not the only iOS UI element that doesn’t. not be one-handed friendly.
So if I agree with my colleague’s points criticizing Dynamic Island, why do I like it? Because I love that the island embraces a necessary hardware compromise of modern smartphones – the need for selfie cameras to eat into the screen – by creating a fun and smart user interface on and around the cut. Instead of ignoring the screen flaw, or even trying to hide it like many Android brands do, Apple embraces it, draws attention to it, and uses it.
Android brands see the hole as a flaw, and Apple sees it as an opportunity
I’ve been covering the Android scene for years, and the most exciting time in my opinion (at least until next year when the foldable wars really heat up globally) was when Chinese brands of Android bent over backwards in 2018 to try to find ways to not need a notch. We have phones with pop-up camera modules, slider mechanisms, with full screens on their backs – all so that a selfie camera can exist without eating away at the screen.
These phones were absolutely fun to test for a gadget fan like me, but they weren’t practical, and these brands knew it. Because before long, they were all back to the notch and finally settled on the punch-cut solution that is ubiquitous in the Android scene.
But even now, Android brands seem sheepish about the existence of the selfie hole, as some brands like Xiaomi are reportedly devoting marketing materials and opening time to brag that their phones have a “smaller hole than their competitors”. . Samsung and ZTE have sacrificed selfie camera quality in favor of nascent under-display camera technology.
Some Android skins, such as Oppo’s ColorOS or Motorola’s MyUI, give users the option to hide the cutout with a digital bezel.
Meanwhile, here’s Apple, not only embracing punching, but it’s built software to make it bigger. Depending on the context, Apple would use black pixels to fill the space around the cutout to transform it into different shapes and sizes.
For example, start a song on Spotify (or Apple Music) and swipe out of the app, and you’ll see the app fly into the island, which then expands to show the album art, as well than a bar of audio waves that beats to the rhythm of the tunes. Apple even built a mini physics engine for this action, so depending on how you swipe, the app flies around the island in a different trajectory, and the island “catches” the app with corresponding animations.
People. As apps minimize into the dynamic island when discarded, they drop into the island differently depending on your “throw” physics…!
Launch the app directly, and it’s a normal bounce. But throw a curveball and the opposite side swells to catch.
I LOVE IT 100% pic.twitter.com/GWjjTDvXZb
—Cabel (@cabel) September 17, 2022
Like the Twitter user above, I’m an animation sucker, and little touches like this make the iPhone come alive.
But it’s not just superficial flair, the Dynamic Island brings real functional use. Navigate with Apple Maps in the background, for example, and you’ll see a constant arrow pointing you in the direction you should be going. Call a ride with Lyft and you see the status of your ride. Start a timer and you see the clock counting down the seconds, all on the island.
And because Apple is Apple, chances are that all major apps will eventually use the island. Google Maps will surely adopt similar real-time navigation. If you’re flying with a major airline, especially one based in the US, you’ll likely see something like boarding time and gate information right on the island. There are a myriad of different ways to use the island, and I’m sure it will be used a lot more than it is now.
Like it or not, the vibrant island is here to stay
Just like the original iPhone X notch, there will always be die-hard Android fans who will criticize it. But I’m pretty sure Dynamic Island won’t alienate existing iPhone users, or scare away the average consumer ready to try an iPhone. Remember, there was a similar uproar about the notch when it debuted in 2017, and guess what, go to any major city in the US or Europe, and you see notches everywhere. In a year or two you will see Dynamic Islands everywhere. The question I’m most interested in is whether Android brands will follow suit and design similar UI interfaces.
The A16-powered iPhone 14 Pro Max is Apple’s most premium 2022 phone. It supports Dynamic Island function and Always-On Display.
This case offers three different color options to choose from, in addition to a minimalist and slim construction.