At Apple’s Far Out event, the company got rid of the notch at the top of the screen in its iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models, replacing it with a smaller, pill-shaped cutout, as predicted.
More of a surprise is the functionality that comes with the cutout, which Apple calls the Dynamic Island. What the heck is it?
Dynamic Island: ‘An interactive user experience’
Among their many updates trotted out at the Far Out event, both iPhone 14 Pro models saw the “notch” camera cutout at the top of the screens replaced with a less-obtrusive elongated pill-shaped cutout. The non-Pro models kept the notch (for now).
Apple also added what it calls Dynamic Island functionality to the pill-shaped cutout. Always active, it shows information from native and third-party apps, including alerts, so you can keep track of things at a glance, no matter what app you’re in.
“The Dynamic Island enables new ways to interact with iPhone, featuring a design that blends the line between hardware and software, adapting in real time to show important alerts, notifications and activities,” Apple VP of Human Interface Alan Dye explained.
Changes shape, surfacing information from various places
The cutout — excuse me, the Dynamic Island — changes shape and surfaces icons, alerts and other information that you can see no matter what app you’re currently using. That way, you can see what’s going on at a glance.
“We’ve designed this new space to be highly adaptive, so can fluidly expand into different shapes using uniquely crafted animations and transitions. So now when you receive an alert, the dynamic Island expands to notify you,” Dye said. “So you can keep track of what’s happening from anywhere on iPhone, like following a baseball game without needing to leave the app you’re in or not missing the Lyft ride while texting friends.”
In order to bring about the Dynamic Island, Apple redesigned the TrueDepth camera to require less display area. Without impeding content on the screen, the Dynamic Island stays in an active state “to allow users easier access to controls with a simple tap-and-hold.”
Ongoing background activities like Maps, Music, or a timer remain visible and interactive, and third-party apps in iOS 16 that provide information like sports scores and ride-sharing with Live Activities can take advantage of the Dynamic Island, as well, Apple said.