Android users have mocked Apple for failing to shrink the Face ID notch to a hole punch for many years. But now, its Dynamic Island has left rivals stranded and disappointed.
The iPhone 14 Pro is yet to be shipped and be in users’ hands. However, the Dynamic Island feature already looks intriguing. Apple appears to have done again what it is known for doing so many times before – taking an existing idea and making it work.
Apple did it when the keyboard was moved to the back of PowerBook. Rivals made a mockery and criticized it but Apple didn’t pay any heed to it. The company did it again when the floppy disc was removed and the headphone jack was dropped. Failing to pull down Apple, rivals started to copy and Apple became a trendsetter. The decision to move the keyboard was immediately admired, but it took longer than usual for the other two to get copied by rivals.
Apple introduced the notch in 2018 with its iPhone X. It was how sensors and a camera could be integrated into the front of the device. Samsung was quick to realize the importance of the change and announced Galaxy A8s in 2018 with similar sensors and a circular notch.
However, for the last five years, Apple has been criticized for falling behind the trend by failing to shrink the size of the notch in the iPhone. Little did anyone know what’s Apple cooking in its R&D center to reimagine the concept of the notch. iPhone 14 Pro not only has a hole-punch section but also has a wider, pill-shaped cutout that has revolutionized how they are used.
Dynamic Island: A real disruption
The familiar notch is always located at the top of your screen. At first, many people found it distractive as it cut into what they were seeing on the screen.
The Dynamic Island is now narrower but approximately the same height. It’s also lower on the screen.
Apple has achieved it by moving the proximity sensor. This is one reason why it is narrower now. The sensor has been always an important component in iPhone and performs a few of the most important activities – It registers when the phone is placed in your ear.
The proximity sensor allows you to switch off the screen to save battery power when it is not in use, and to avoid your ear accidentally calling someone.
Does that mean Apple has compromised with a feature to shrink the top-notch? Not really!
Although the iPhone 14 Pro is capable of doing the same thing, the new iPhone 14 Pro houses the proximity sensor below the display instead. Because the components of the old notch were all hardware, they cannot be moved around for optimal design. This is the first time anything can be removed.
This is also the only part that was repositioned. Therefore, Apple has a very small room for enhancement by replacing it.
Before the launch of the iPhone 14, earlier rumors claimed that Apple would replace the big single notch with two. One smaller, pill-shaped, and one with a hole-punch cutout. Apple, however, has not only done this but also chose to alter the screen for a better experience.
The utilization of gaps between hardware or even between icons has always been the focus area for Apple from the beginning. We all heard the story of Steve Jobs putting the first iPod into the water to make a point that there is room for improvement in terms of size. size and placements of components. Tim Cook has done the same with iPhone 14 by repositioning and replacing components and icons at the top of the iPhone 14 Pro for an enhanced experience.
Apple decided to use the space between the hole punch and the pill, rather than letting the pill and hole block the display always. It activated and deactivated the pixel between them or toggles between them. This is the beginning of the dynamic part of the Dynamic Island.
Do more with less
There were limitations in what Apple can do between the two parts of the new notch that has sensors, even after controlling every pixel of it.
The new iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island feature, however, allows Apple to do many things. It can display and keep displaying Live Action information, such as stocks or sports results.
By making use of the pixels in the Island, It can indicate your concurrent performing activity, such as an ongoing call while you browse through the internet or accessing another app.
The new system will also show you the status of any other apps running in the background. For example, if you have a countdown clock and you want to listen to music, it can show both. It’s the only way you can physically see the hole punch and the pill on the screen.
What’s even more interesting is how Apple animates the area around the pill and punch. Apple does not just insert one status icon into the hole punch, and another into the separate, pill-shaped one. Instead, it animates the area around the pill extruding the smaller, hole punch one. This then settles in place.
The Dynamic part is about how many types of information can be displayed in the new area. It also has to do with the animation. Apple seems to have spent a lot of time making each change and every move vibrant and dynamic.
Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro: The seamless experience
All app developers will have access to Dynamic Island’s features, but Apple also has a set of pre-defined animations and styles.
Most of the time, we’ll usually see the Island with just a few icons. These icons include album art, when you play music, and an animated waveform. The Siri logo appears in the middle of the square-shaped cutout when it is invoked.
When someone calls, the narrow, tiny island expands in all directions to display the name or number of the caller, and to accommodate buttons to answer or decline.
There is also a third size almost equal to the iOS widget. It is for an app to display information a widget can accommodate.
Perhaps, developers may have already created iOS widgets. This is why we are most likely to receive the largest notification.
Apple, from onwards, has put developers on an additional task. They will have to put extra effort while developing apps as only iPhone 14 Pro users can expect Dynamic Island, and all regular iPhone 14 users can not get it.
In simple words, developers will have to develop and design apps that need to be able to take advantage of the new Dynamic Island while still working seamless experience on the iPhone models that don’t support it.
No matter whether you love it or hate it, this new system will eventually be available on all iPhones, and most Android phones as well. It’s one of those Apple designs that are so perfect and useful. It also makes us think why none of the other device manufacturers ever thought of making the best use of the notch at the top of the device like Apple has reimagined. Apple is a real trendsetter!