The Notch might be Apple’s most controversial product design decision in many years (I put the original iMac’s hockey puck mouse in the Top 5). Reviled by critics, Apple haters, the growing crowd of nattering nabobs of negativism, the Notch in iPhone X houses some important technology.
Besides, most iPhone X customers paid little attention to the Notch after a few hours of use, so critics are not as insightful as they pretend to be. Could Apple get rid of the Notch? Sure. In fact, the Notch itself isn’t necessary but Apple made a decision to create the ears on either side of the Notch to house specific information. The Notch is distinctly Apple. At least until the Chinese knockoff makers decided to copy it.
Remove the ears– left and right of the Notch– on iPhone X and you get the standard smartphone forehead. Every smartphone has one, including Samsung’s Galaxy S9, which also has a chin. The Notch and the forehead are there for a reason.
The Notch is home to an infrared camera, a flood illuminator, a dot projector (all three for Face ID), and the standard goodies; proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, speaker, microphone, FaceTime selfie camera.
If there is no Notch and no forehead, where do those components go? If there is a place for them to go, is there need for a Notch?
The laws of physics enter into this discussion. There are only two logical locations for all those sensors. First, embedded into the screen. Second, embedded into the bezel that holds the screen. There is a third option. Both.
Various and sundry products from the industry’s rumor mines say Apple wants to embed components into the display. A company already has a fingerprint scanner embedded into a display, but speakers and microphones are actual holes, so it seems more likely that the third option may work better.
I’m not sure why designers think a smartphone requires a design devoid of chin and forehead and with an ever shrinking bezel, but that’s the trend and if iterative innovation is what I think it is, we’ll see an iPhone X (or whatever Apple calls the flagship iPhone of the future) with a tiny bezel, no chin, no forehead, and no Notch.
Not this year. Probably not next year. So, don’t get your hopes up too high for Apple to correct the design choice. For the next few years we will see Android smartphone makers blatantly copy iPhone X’s Notch, and then one day the Notch will be gone and new iPhones will be little more than flat slabs of glass with a tiny bezel.
Say goodbye to iPhone X Notch. But not yet.