The Notch? That’s the sensor array at the top of an iPhone X’s screen; black interference in the design aesthetic of the wonderfully crisp, vibrant, and colorful OLED display. The Notch is a much maligned, often denigrated, nearly universally hated design shortcoming. At least, that’s the story from Apple’s choir of nattering nabobs of negativism.
Funny thing. True story, too. The Notch is being copied by Android smartphone makers. Hey, if Apple designed it, then it must be a glimpse of the future say they copycats. Is Notch really beautiful? I don’t know. My design tastes are seldom called upon by Apple’s design honcho Sir Jonny Ive to see what I think of what Apple will do next. Nobody at Apple returns my calls anyway.
The Notch was maligned in late 2017 when iPhone X was introduced because it stuck out, embraced on both sides by visible functions, but disguising within its darkness a bunch of sensors and cameras and other goodies the make Face ID and selfies work as we would expect. Critic howled and hated Notch. Actual customers forgot about it entirely; except for the occasional tell tale glance to ensure the iPhone was being held upright in our hands.
Nobody complains about the even larger Forehead that Notch replaced with improved functionality. Nobody complains about the even larger Chin at the bottom of iPhones past and nearly every smartphone designed by humans and made by robots. Notch was ugly. End. Of. Story.
Except it’s not the end of the Notch. It’s just the beginning.
iPhone X’s Notch is being copied by a growing number of Android-based smartphone manufacturers, including the Asus Zenfone 5 and many others. Vlad Savov of The Verge says:
If Apple were to put bunny ears on the iPhone on Monday, by Wednesday we’d have bunny-eared Android phones in stores. This is the world we live in.
Yeah, I get it that differentiation is a key component of product marketing but it seems copycat-ism is, too. Apple introduces a new feature or function and the copycats go to work on Monday and release their own version before the week ends.
Samsung’s new Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus do not have a Notch. Yet. Instead, Samsung crippled the devices by leaving in a visually obtrusive Forehead at the time and a space squandering Chin at the bottom.
That is just so 2016.
What was hated and vilified is now the norm. Apple has the power to do that. Sometimes. Remember the hockey puck mouse on the original iMac?