Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 7th Oct 2017 19:55 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

Joshua Topolsky:

The "notch" on the new iPhone X is not just strange, interesting, or even odd - it is bad. It is bad design, and as a result, bad for the user experience. The justification for the notch (the new Face ID tech, which lets you unlock the device just by looking at it) could have easily been accomplished with no visual break in the display. Yet here is this awkward blind spot cradled by two blobs of actual screenspace.


Plenty has been written about the mind-numbing, face-palming, irritating stupidity of the notch. And yet, I can't stop thinking about it. I would love to say that this awful design compromise is an anomaly for Apple. But it would be more accurate to describe it as the norm.

Apple really, really wants you to "embrace the notch" and consider it a design element. With the home button gone, the iPhone X lost the iconic shape we've come to expect from iPhones, and to set a recognisable shape for the iPhone for the next decade, Apple chose the notch, and decided to embrace it.

The goal of the industry is clearly to move to truly fullscreen displays; no notches like the Essential phone or the iPhone X, and no thin chins and foreheads like the Galaxy S8 or the LG V30. With Apple trying to build a visual brand around the notch, we're going to be inundated with article after article explaining how the notch is great design, how it's a good idea, how it actually makes a lot of sense to have the notch because of [insert pseudoscience], how it is the pinnacle of design.

And all those articles will look entirely foolish once Android phones start moving to true fullscreen with under-display cameras and sensors in a few years from now, after which Apple will drag its feet, only to eventually move to true fullscreen displays 2-3 years later, at which point the authors of the aforementioned articles will do a complete 180 overnight, as if the notch never happened.

Notches and chins and foreheads are necessary imperfections due to technological limitations on the way to fullscreen perfection. Pretending they are not will only make you look foolish five years from now.

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Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Sat 7th Oct 2017 21:08 UTC
Member since:

Apple folk on the Moto smart-watches:

"the flat-tire displays on their round faces were one of the worst designs in recent memory."

Apple folk on the iPhone X:

"Embrace the notch."

Reply Score: 16

RE: Comment by Kroc
by name99 on Sun 8th Oct 2017 02:31 in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
name99 Member since:

(a) Please don't lump all "Apple" people as the same thing. There are plenty of us who are willing to cheer the good things that Apple does AND complain about the bad things Apple does. And yeah, the notch is bad.


(b) Why is it bad and why is it there? The REAL problem here is the idiotic pushing of sensible design trends beyond the point where they make sense. Smaller bezels makes sense when bezels mean a more physical space is used up than is paid back in screen space. But the fact that the iPhone 1 bezels wasted a huge amount of space does not mean that the iPhone 7 is at a bad design point, or that that point is best fixed by moving both the forehead and chin of a phone.

Likewise the fact that a remote control has too many buttons does not mean that an iPhone, with 4 buttons had so many that it made sense to pull that number down to 3.

The point is --- pushing design beyond the point of idiocy is not something unique to Apple, it is a pathology that runs through the entire design profession. Metro --- perfect example of pushing an idea that made sense in context WAY too far. Likewise Android has its fair share of people pushing the "utterly featureless black rectangular block of glass" ideology to the point where you can't tell which direction is up or down, front or back, of the phone.

Let's spend less time criticizing Apple and other individual companies, and more time calling out design insanity WHEREVER it occurs.
- Apple round mouse --- CRAPPY CRAPPY design
- Siri remote --- CRAPPY CRAPPY design
- iPhone X --- the notch is certainly crappy, and I suspect (though I can't say without using it) that losing the front button is likewise crappy --- makes many things slower and more clumsy for the sake of something no--one with a brain gives a fsck about.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by Kochise on Sun 8th Oct 2017 11:46 in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
Kochise Member since:

You haven't seen the design review of the iBabe, have you ? The Special Edition with more powerful processor and color choice is even better.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Sun 8th Oct 2017 17:52 in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
Kroc Member since:

Apologies; by "Apple folk" I meant professional Apple bloggers -- that is, dependent on towing the company line no matter how much Apple craps the bed each time around -- but the word skipped my mind.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by Kroc
by CaptainN- on Mon 9th Oct 2017 16:08 in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
CaptainN- Member since:

Meh- I'm no fanboi, but the flat tire thing on a round watch was pretty horrible looking, where as the notch is designed around well.

I'd say the issue is whether the design is compromised by the defect, or whether the defect has been adequately designed around. With the otherwise round face of the Moto watch getting cut off, it was not adequately addressed by the design, and just looked broken. Apple and Essential both adequately designed around the problem - both solutions do look quite lovely (despite some updates needed in the Apple and Android app ecosystems to account for it - Apple will have an easier time here due to their integrated tooling, and relative lack of phone varieties for developers to support)

Reply Parent Score: 1