Apple embraces that ugly notched cutout in OLED ‘iPhone’s display

Apple’s next-gen iPhone’s “overall size will be similar to that of the iPhone 7, but it will include an OLED screen that is slightly larger than the one on the iPhone 7 Plus (5.5-inches),” Mark Gurman reports for Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the product. “The phone will have symmetrical, slim bezels around the entirety of the screen, meaning the area below the screen that used to house the home button and the area above the screen for the earpiece have been removed. The earpiece, facial recognition sensor, and selfie camera are instead present in a cutout, or ‘notch,’ at the top of the screen.”

“The new screen is rounded on the corners, while current iPhone screens have square corners. The power button on the right side of phone is longer so it is easier to press while holding the device in one hand, according to the images and the people,” Gurman reports. “The screen is also noticeably taller than the iPhone 7 Plus’s screen, meaning it could show more of a web page or additional text messages, the people said. The phone will still have six vertical rows of apps, showing 24 icons on each page, excluding the dock, a grey bar at the bottom that houses commonly used apps. The dock is redesigned with a new interface similar to the one on the iPad version of iOS 11.”

“Apple has opted to not hide the notch area at the top of the screen, showing a definitive cutout at the top of apps with non-black backgrounds. The cutout is noticeable during app usage in the middle of the very top of the screen, where the status bar (the area that shows cellular reception, the time, and battery life) would normally be placed,” Gurman reports. “Instead, the status bar will be split into left and right sides, which some Apple employees call “ears” internally. In images of recent test devices, the left side shows the time while the area on the right side of the notch displays cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity and remaining battery life. Because of limited space, the status bar could change based on the task at hand, according to a person familiar with the testing.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Inelegant kludge.

As we wrote back in June:

Again with that awful cutout… We doubt that Apple would execute the display in such a way as to draw attention to a black cutout containing the FaceTime camera, earpiece, etc. More likely, the thin top of the display on either side would remain off limits to anything but the deepest OLED black into which such a cutout would simply disappear. Also, why would Apple cram battery, carrier, Wi-Fi, signal strength into those areaa as it only works in portrait mode. What happens to those areas on either side of that cutout when the iPhone is in landscape mode?

Unfortunately for those with taste and design sense, it looks like we doubted wrong. (Apple’s design “choices” as of late: Smart Battery Case, Apple TV Siri remote*, OLED iPhone notched cutout… can you tell that Jony’s either lost interest, is at Apple in name only, and/or has otherwise checked out?)

Oh well, even with that awful cutout, we’ll manage to live with it somehow! 😉

*Absolutely shitty design about which Apple should be deeply embarrassed.

It’s time we embraced Apple’s notched/cutout OLED iPhone display – August 11, 2017
New ‘iPhone 8’ video reveals what Apple’s device might look like at launch – June 23, 2017
Newly leaked cases claim to show Apple’s iPhone 8 – June 21, 2017
New video and photos of ‘iPhone 8’ dummy unit show vertical camera, black and silver case, and more – June 20, 2017
Newly leaked ‘iPhone 8’ parts give glimpse into rumored design – June 12, 2017
Pundits suspect Apple’s Jony Ive no longer involved in iPhone, Mac product design – November 22, 2016
Where is Jony Ive? – March 28, 2016
Obviously, Jony Ive is preparing to retire from Apple – May 27, 2015
Jony Ive is Apple’s next Steve Jobs – May 27, 2015
What Jony Ive’s ‘promotion’ really means – May 26, 2015
Now Jony Ive will have an even bigger influence over Apple’s image – May 26, 2015
Stephen Fry meets Jony Ive, Apple’s newly-promoted chief design officer – May 26, 2015
Jony Ive gives up day-to-day managerial duties to focus on big picture – May 26, 2015
Jony Ive promoted to ‘Chief Design Officer’ – May 25, 2015


  1. Doesn’t bother me in the slightest. At least that ears space is being used to some purpose. One step at a time until Apple can figure out a way to deal with it, which seems insurmountable. Shitty design happens when the designers are unaware they’ve designed something bad. I am sure Apple is all too aware of the undesirability of this. I think if Apple had an alternative to what is a current technical limitation they would have used it. The cameras and face scanner have to go somewhere.

  2. So why does the background image shows through what would be the phone earpiece speaker (I cant think of a better way to describe it). That long area looks like it has a fine screen mesh in that slot. Why would the background show through?

    1. A Chinese phone company ‘dealt’ with that design problem by minimizing the phone receiver and LEDs to a sliver at the top and moved the camera to the bottom of the phone which gave it practically zero bezel on top and sides, but with a small ‘chin’. This also avoided the problem of ‘flowing’ images around cutout areas.

  3. The “ears” are less of a deal than the lousy Apple TV Siri remote, or the Magic Mouse 2 charging system that will not let you use the mouse while it is charging (with a cable plugged in at 90% to the base), or the iPhone battery case, etc.
    Don’t get going on old things like the “puck” mouse, or dumb UI designs.

  4. I’ll hazard a guess that, unless you look closely, you won’t be able to discern the cutout area from the left and right OLED ear area. The cutout will be black and most of the adjacent OLED pixels in the ears will be off and appear black. Only status icons will be visible and they won’t be at the very edge of the screen.

  5. What Apple should have done with that top bar area is added in a display area (around the notch) so that it displays your carrier, time (digital AND ANALOG!!!), battery, temperature of the air outside your phone, and humidity. Or some variants of these.

    Personally think the current top row of carrier and batter life is half the size it should be. It could be doubled and a few more things added to it. Maybe a list of how many unread emails/messages?

    Just my two cents.

  6. I would like to know what will protect a user from having law enforcement hold the phone up to your face and force it to unlock without your permission or a warrant? Unless there is some feature to protect your freedom, I give it about a week until the first reports of this kind of abuse roll on n.

      1. Since the facial unlock is supposed to replace TouchID doesn’t it defeat the purpose of authenticating for ApplePay purchases if you don’t use the feature?

  7. The notch would make the AWESOMELY EXPENSIVE and CRAVED iPhone8 instantly recognizable at a great distance, creating kind of a theft enhancement issue. Folks would have to be particularly careful using the iPhone8 in public to prevent run-by-grabs as they’re talking and the phone is unlocked. A protective wallet-style case with a thin cover could be a must to disguise the phone and reduce the potential for these occurrences.

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