The default wallpaper for the new iPhone XS models is undoubtedly beautiful. But that’s clearly not why Apple chose it. It can’t be a coincidence that the black region of the image is perfectly placed to hide the screen cutout.
Apple isn’t denying the existence of the notch in the two most expensive of the 2018 iPhones, but it’s certainly trying to de-emphasize it.
Last year’s iPhone X was the first mainstream handset to have a screen cutout, and was considered controversial when this model was first announced. However, the tenth-anniversary iPhone turned out to be the most popular smartphone in the world.
In the months after the X’s debut, virtually all of Apple’s rivals announced models with their own screen cutouts. This went on to the point where Google felt compelled to limit how many each Android device could have.
The iPhone XS notch is still there
Despite general acceptance, Apple clearly feel the need to subtly hide the notch in the iPhone XS and XS Max. Hence an image that camouflages the black screen cutout against a black background.
It’s still there in the images. Apple isn’t doing anything deceptive. It’s just hard to see. And the iPhone XS notch can be seen in a smattering of official images. Just not the most prominent ones.
The same is not true of the cheaper iPhone XR. Its wallpaper makes no attempt to hide the notch. A conspiracy theorist might suggest that this is intended to subtly steer people toward the more expensive devices, as they don’t appear to have a notch.
Incidentally, the images chosen for the iPhone XS wallpapers look like planets but are really close-up pictures of soap bubbles.