The edge-to-edge display on iPhone X is going to make everything we do look spectacular. That’s what Apple tells us, at least. But the truth is, a lot of your favorite apps are going to look downright horrible when you first start using one.
This picture of an iPhone X in the wild highlights an ugly problem Apple’s new smartphone will face when it makes its big debut next month.
Have you noticed it yet? It’s not difficult to spot. It’s those massive black bars that are displayed above and below the app. In this case it’s Pokémon GO, which obviously hasn’t been optimized for iPhone X’s new Super Retina HD display yet.
What’s the problem?
The problem here is that not only is iPhone X’s display bigger and sharper, but it uses a new aspect ratio. Since iPhone 5, Apple has been using 16:9 displays — but iPhone X switches to 18.5:9. It’s one of the tallest smartphone displays in use; taller even than the Galaxy S8’s.
Even though apps can be enlarged automatically to use as much space as possible, then, they still cannot fill the screen completely. They’d have to be stretched to do that, and then they’d look even worse. And the iPhone X’s “notch” would get in the way.
We’ve seen this issue before
You will have encountered this issue before if you’re a long-time iPhone user. Apple faced the same problem when it launched iPhone 5, which had a taller display than its predecessors. Prior to that, it was using displays with a 4:3 aspect ratio.
As will be the case with iPhone X, apps that weren’t ready for the new screen were displayed with black bars above and below them.
What’s the fix?
There is only one fix: Developers must update their apps to take advantage of the Super Retina HD display.
Many will already be doing that right now. And a lot of the biggest and most popular apps will be ready by the time iPhone X reaches customers on November 3. There will be many that aren’t optimized, however, so we’ll have to get used to those black bars for a while.