“After 10 years, the iPhone business is displaying signs of maturity. The days of significant sales growth are in the rearview mirror. The upgrade cycle is getting longer as it becomes that much harder to get people to upgrade their iPhones,” Neil Cybart writes for Above Avalon. “Apple was faced with a choice: Stick with the familiar and milk the iPhone business for all it’s worth, or throw familiarity out the window to pave a new iPhone journey for the next 10 years. Apple chose the latter…”
“With iPhone X, two design changes stand out: the removal of the front-facing home button and Face ID replacing Touch ID,” Cybart writes. “The changes amount to nothing short of an entirely new iPhone experience.”
“The best way to describe the feeling found when using iPhone X is that it’s the closet thing to using an iPhone from an alternative universe,” Cybart writes. “There is this fresh, or reinvigorating, feeling to it – as if the home button was holding the iPhone experience back, representing a barrier to interacting with software. No other iPhone update has been able to elicit such a strong feeling. It is also easy to see where Apple wants to take iPhone over the next ten years…”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: We agree.
And, now, we’re going to take issue with Cybart’s defense of Apple’s ill-conceived notch:
Cybart: The way Apple wraps the iPhone X screen around the TrueDepth camera system (a.k.a the notch) has been a polarizing topic in the run up to this week’s launch. Some people think the notch is bad design. This camp argues Apple shouldn’t have included a visual gap in the screen. Renderings showing various iPhone X apps in portrait mode, which clearly look odd at first, have given this camp a decent number of supporters. However, in what likely isn’t a coincidence, the ‘notch is bad design’ camp has been quiet when it comes to offering or suggesting better alternatives.
MacDailyNews: Incorrect. Not only haven’t we been the least bit quiet, we’ve offered up a better alternative, as Neil knows full well:
So, make it a PITA for users and developers in service of “branding?”
Not very smart.
These attached renderings are better design: pic.twitter.com/fgUNxa5DLs
— MacDailyNews (@MacDailyNews) September 16, 2017
As we wrote back in September upon iPhone X’s reveal, a far better, much more elegant, better looking and better functioning design solution than the one at which Apple’s Jony Ive & Co. and/or Craig Federighi inexplicably arrived, courtesy of Nodus and Gordon Kelly via Forbes from back in July shows how iPhone X’s notch should have been handled:
We would’ve made all four corners the same arc, but you get the idea. Even if the status bars simply stayed “sideways” when in landscape, this is a more elegant solution than Apple’s current kludge. The simple solution is oftentimes better.
Ive & Co.’s design choice is even more inexplicable when you realize they already have the answer staring them in the face all day: The Mac’s menu bar.
Cybart: Including extra bezel to the left and right of the TrueDepth camera system, like every other smartphone manufacturer currently does with their front-facing camera, isn’t a better solution. One wouldn’t be able to use that space to display information such the date, time, battery indicator, carrier signal, etc.
MacDailyNews: One most certainly would be able to use that space to display information such the date, time, battery indicator, carrier signal, etc. It’s not a matter of screen real estate vs. dead space. Those ears can still be used for information. Apple should have simply reserved it for themselves. It’s where the time, cell signal and Wi-Fi signal strength, and battery indicators live – on a deep black background, thanks. We trust Apple somewhere still has someone with the design chops to make those work in landscape, too. Asking every iOS developer on earth to design around a black flap occluding the display is lunacy. It’s the wrong choice. iPhone X’s notch is bad design.
Cybart: Much like the home button, the “notch” will be quickly forgotten. It just melts away after a few hours of use. Let’s not beat around the bush – an iPhone X without any notch would obviously be the closest representation to Apple’s vision of hardware melting away to just leave the user interacting with software. However, the technology for such a feat just isn’t available today (although Apple R&D suggests the company is working at it). But Apple sure comes close to that perfection, even when taking into account the notch.
MacDailyNews: The hallmark of great design: Something that the designers, the users, and the apologists all hope “will be quickly forgotten.”
The “notch” is ill-conceived. It’s a design abomination. It’s an inelegant kludge. It requires developers to literally design around it.
Cybart: I don’t think it’s fair to say that the way Apple wraps the screen around the TrueDepth camera system was some kind of major compromise. Instead of Apple redesigning iPhone to remove the notch next year or the following year, there is a much higher likelihood of Samsung and other smartphone manufacturers embracing some version of the notch as the extra bezel found on Galaxy S8 or Pixel 2 XL really does stand out in a negative way when positioned next to iPhone X… In fact, the notch replaces the home button as a defining characteristic of the device – a way for the phone to stand out from competitors. The notch ends up being iPhone X branding.
MacDailyNews: Branding that cannot be protected is worthless (see literally the entire history of iPhone to see how well Apple’s trade dress has been protected by the “justice” system). It’ll be knocked off quicker than… Oh, wait, it’s already been knocked off. Say “hello” to China’s innovative and oh-so-unique Android-based Hotwav Symbol S3:
So much for branding via notch.
Regarding iPhone X’s notch, Cybart is wrong.
Apple reminds developers to design around iPhone X’s notch – October 28, 2017
We’ll get used to iPhone X’s ugly notch, even if we don’t end up liking it – October 23, 2017
Sloppiness: Apple’s inconsistent iPhone X design guides show attention to detail is no longer a priority – October 13, 2017
It’s not all screen: Apple’s stretching the truth with iPhone X marketing – October 3, 2017
Joshua Topolsky: Apple is really bad at design – October 1, 2017
Apple’s botched ‘notch’ atop iPhone X’s display is a design abomination – September 15, 2017
Apple is turning a design quirk into the iPhone X’s defining feature: Leaning into the notch – September 14, 2017
The lessons and questions of Apple’s iPhone X and iPhone 8 – September 13, 2017
Apple embraces that ugly notched cutout in OLED ‘iPhone’s display – August 30, 2017
It’s time we embraced Apple’s notched/cutout OLED iPhone display – August 11, 2017