M.G. Siegler reviews Apple’s iPhone X: Certainly the best smartphone I have ever used, despite the weird and awkward notch

“The iPhone X is amazing. Easily the best iPhone Apple has ever made, and certainly the best smartphone I have ever used,” M.G. Siegler writes for 500ish Words. “But you could have said that about each and every new iPhone. Including the rather lackluster iPhone 8 — for about a month there, it was the best iPhone ever made. And then along came the X. But this is not just the best iPhone yet, it’s a new leap forward. Others have compared it to the jump we got with the iPhone 4 back in the day. And I think that’s both fair and apt. This feels like a new type of iPhone. One that is, forgive me, a notch above.”

“That’s not to say it’s perfect. It’s definitely not. I’ll get to some of that in a second,” Siegler writes. “The biggest leap forward is the obvious one: FaceID. To say “it just works” is a disservice to what it’s actually doing. It works like magic. It works in so many situations where you think there’s no way it will work. To the point where you think: is it really doing anything or is Apple just messing with me?”

“But, the notch,” Siegler writes. “Day-to-day, I honestly don’t think about the notch anymore in regular iPhone use. But if I stop to think about it, such as for this review, it does still bother me. It also bothers me if I’m doing anything in landscape mode. Look, I get it. It’s there to enable all the amazing stuff mentioned above. I still just sort of wish Apple had made the bottom bezel-less and left a small one across the entire top of the iPhone X. (Or actually, just insisted this area be used for the status indicators (cellular service, battery, etc) and nothing else. When app-makers do this, it’s nice because it preserves the rest of the screen for content.) I know they couldn’t have claimed ‘edge-to-edge’ this way with at least somewhat of a straight face. But the bat ears, rabbit ears, horns — whatever you want to call them — are weird and awkward. ”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yup.

Apple made the wrong choice with the notch. It’s bad design to ask the world’s developers to design around a flap occluding the display.

The good news is that Apple can fix this in the software (of course, the few developers who’ve already designed around Apple’s abomination will have further work to do). Apple should reserve the “bunny ears” portion of the screen to display cell and Wi-Fi signal strength, time, battery, and whatever else they want to use it for on a deep black background – with corner arcs that match the iPhone X’s other corners – into which the black bank of sensors comprising the notch will simply disappear.

Apple owns the notch’s bunny ears and the developers get all the rest.

Simplicity is the hallmark of great design, but Apple’s current notch design “solution” is anything but simple. It’s ugly, messy, and it mars an otherwise gorgeous device.MacDailyNews, November 1, 2017


iPhone X notch un-botched by Forbes' Gordon Kelly and Nodus
iPhone X notch un-botched by Forbes’ Gordon Kelly and Nodus

How annoying is the iPhone X notch – November 1, 2017
The Verge reviews Apple’s iPhone X: Clearly the best iPhone ever made, despite being marred by its ugly notch – November 1, 2017
Above Avalon’s first impressions of Apple’s iPhone X: ‘An entirely new iPhone experience’ – October 31, 2017
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


  1. I think Apple honestly used it as a marketing weapon.
    It just could have been designed around too easily . . . so I think what they did was decide even with the “notch” the phone would be absolutely awesome, and without rival. And they are drawing deep attention — for free — to the untouchable technologies introduced. Then, in a year (or whenever) those sensors can be hidden in the display, an entirely renewed set of free attention will be drawn to it. The ‘inelegant kludge’ might just be the smartest marketing you’ll ever see, and the gift that keeps on giving in that department. (I also think maybe it was a fairly last-minute compromise due to some tech failure that wasn’t expected, in yields or otherwise, in hiding it in the display but even still was viewed as an opportunity to differentiate when all else failed).

  2. I have come to appreciate the two ears that we have with the notch. They are no longer static icons in place and can become part of the apps. My reddit client puts volume control in the top left ear. My camera app uses the ears to display histogram info and exposure values. I presume we will see more and more apps using that space that would otherwise be list to static icons.
    It seems short-sighted to dismiss it outright before developers have had a chance to experiment and see how the space can be used.
    It’s not perfect and there are going to be some bumps along the way, but even after a month we’ve already seen some new UI elements making use of that extra space.

  3. I love the picture that MDN used. It looks soooo much better.

    I think that’s what Steve would have selected but we got Mr. Product Delay running the show now so I guess what Steve would have done doesn’t really matter anymore.

    Sorry, I’m ranting. I’m just done with Tim running the show. Apple is starting to be the butt end of jokes because of his leadership.

    1. God. If people like Trondude would stop telling me what to do for a minute, maybe I will have time to get the damn notch app.

      I mean, C’mon. You try creating the universe and keeping the whole thing together while you squabble on that lovely bit ever dirtier blue ball I gave you to live on, which you’re messing up.

      Look, my Prime Directive states I can’t interfere in your civilisation, despite the occasional miracle here and there, and even though I could naturally make the iPhone even better, I’m leaving this one to Tim, Jony and the gang.

      They’re doing a great job, and the notch is divisive, yet divine. Kinda like me.

      So, chill dude. I mean, Trondude.

      I am happily over it and, I actually like it.

      Ok, gotta get back to it, I see Atlas over there keeps shrugging, I think he’s got a magnesium deficiency.


  4. So far I’ve only played with it at the store, it’s not so much the notch as the narrower screen compared to my Plus laid down next to it. Visual elements are noticeably smaller, I wish they’d release a bigger screen than the Plus by now. The longer but narrower screen of the X doesn’t use the space as well as the Plus, would it have killed them to keep the Plus (or even slightly longer) screen size and eliminated top and bottom bezels while slimming 3-4mm off of the sides?

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