- Apple’s Dynamic Island feature changed the way we interact with our phones.
- It’s the kind of hardware/software hybrid that only Apple can do.
- No, this isn’t just another Touch Bar.
The biggest reason to choose the iPhone 14 Pro over the regular 14 isn’t a hardware feature, but a software gimmick.
The surprise of Apple’s 2022 iPhone release is the Dynamic Island, a pill-shaped status and alert box that never leaves the screen. It’s beautiful, whimsical, fun, and incredibly useful, but it may have originally just been to hide the camera hole in the iPhone 14 Pro’s display.
Apple’s UI standards have slipped in recent years. For example, if you’re on a Mac, move your mouse to the notification in the upper right corner of the screen and try closing it. The “x” button to close it only shows up when you’re close to it, and may disappear before you try to click it.
But there were moments of genius, like when Apple introduced the Magic Keyboard with a trackpad for the iPad, which revolutionized how mouse pointers work and interact. Or Universal Control, where the cursor arrows are extruded from the side of the Mac’s screen and only appear on nearby iPads.
The iPhone 14 Pro replaces the bangs with smaller circles and diamond-shaped arrangements that are always on the screen. It contains a front-facing camera and an array of Face ID. But instead of ignoring it, Apple used it to invent a new kind of status and notifications. The black diamond shows the alert, but also deforms and grows to fit its content. It can be a waveform and artwork for the currently playing song, can display incoming calls and more.
But since the dynamic island is always on screen, it can provide contextual information. For example, on a music track that is playing, you will see the audio waveform and the progress of the track. If you set a timer, it’s there, counting down, always visible. If another app needs to use the dynamic island, the timer will shrink to a small timer icon ready to be tapped and invoked.
The dynamic island disappears only when doing full-screen activities (like watching a movie), and Apple just darkens one end of the screen to hide it. This might sound annoying, but I haven’t seen this mentioned in the torrent of Twitter praise.
I think the Dynamic Island will be a hit because it’s actually functional, unlike the Touch Bar, which just makes things difficult…
Why are people so crazy looking for something a little more than a fancy alert box? Maybe because it’s done so well. The animations are fun, bouncy, and smooth. In a way, Dynamic Island feels like your friend. The way it jumps and resizes, or the way a full-screen app shrinks to a diamond shape, is very interesting.
It’s also super useful. Macs have a menu bar for this kind of ambient data, but iPhones have never had more than a battery icon and a cellular intensity meter. Dynamic Island is Apple’s modern take on the menu bar and notifications, and the iPad-like mouse blob is a take on mouse interaction.
not the touch bar
But we’ve been here before. The Mac’s Touch Bar was an interactive status screen that morphed to change functionality, but Apple seemed to lose interest shortly after its launch, and it’s now only available on older MacBook models. However, even now, the Dynamic Island feels far more important than the Touch Bar. See how Apple integrates hardware and software here.
“I think the Dynamic Island will be a hit because it’s actually functional, unlike the Touch Bar, which just makes things difficult or [required] Extra steps for the same task” Kurt Twainfounder of tech hardware company Approved Modems, told Lifewire via email.
The dynamic island casts a little shadow and slightly blurs the background. Apple said at the launch that this requires a special graphics section on the A16 chip, so the iPhone’s GPU doesn’t have to be constantly fired up to process animations. A special piece of hardware just for dynamic islands. It’s a detail no other company would have thought of, let alone built.
It should come as no surprise that Dynamic Island would one day show up on an iPad, as Apple reporter Parker Ortolani saw in these stunning mockups of a possible iPad version.
“Imagine a dynamic island [the] iPad Pro reaches a whole new level. It could be the perfect solution to bring the menu bar to iPadOS in a new and smooth way,” Apple Watcher Parker Otolani Say on twitter. “Apps and multitasking tasks go a step further.”
Forget fancy cameras. The reason for choosing Pro this year is Dynamic Island.
Tell us why!
not detailed enough
difficult to understand