More than a few of my Android-toting friends, Samsung Galaxy-whatever owners all, have asked me if iPhone X’s so-called ‘Notch’ bothers me. As is the case with almost any iPhone X customer, the Notch disappears after a few hours of use.
Now, some call it a Notch, but if you look at it and compare it to Samsung’s similar area on Galaxy 8 and Galaxy Note 8, you’ll see that it’s really an area housing Face ID, camera, sensors, and other goodies, while at the same time displaying a few useful icons, left and right. Apple embraced the Notch but gave customers more than eye distraction.
The common terminology for iPhones and Samsung Galaxy-whatevers of generations past is bezel (for the sides which you hold), Forehead (with camera and sensors and microphone), and Chin (Home button). Apple did away with the Chin entirely in the nearly bezel-less or micro-bezel design, while Samsung and other premium smartphone makers kept a small Chin and a larger Forehead.
The area left and right of what critics and customers call the Notch actually uses pixels for icons in an area which Samsung fills in with, well, nothing worthwhile to the user. Take a look at an iPhone side-by-side with Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8.
OK, we’re not counting screen size or pixels, or even usable space, design esthetic, and distractions. How are the larger Foreheads and Chins on the Galaxy models not a distraction? The right and left micro-bezels are thinner than iPhone but the Forehead and Chin areas are less efficient.
Some critics and iPhone X customers call the area left and right of the Notch ears or horns. Fair enough, but why is there an issue over any of the three names when after a little usage it all just disappears anyway? I’m not necessarily a fan of a Home button or a Notch but modern technology is all about change— and replacing the Home button with a swipe up is progress. With Face ID I can lift up my iPhone X, swipe, and have it unlock the screen in about the same time as Touch ID but the obvious difference is that I don’t have to think about my thumb or finger and a precise touch on the button.
Apple removed the conscious steps. That’s good. As to whether there is a Notch or Forehead or Chin doesn’t matter at all after a day or so of use. Progress. Perhaps in the next year or two we’ll see all the Notch, Forehead, and Chin functionality tucked under the display so the device becomes nearly all display. That might be attractive, and with muscle memory gestures easy enough to use, but all this critical noise is not a panacea to much of anything except a Jonny Ive design aesthetic.
Say goodbye to fat side bezels. Say goodbye to Foreheads, Chins, and even the Notch (or, ears, or horns) in a year or two but those rounded corner bezels are more design elements than efficient use of pixels. Just like Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Note 8’s slender but obnoxiously visible Forehead and Chin. It’s not so much a notch as it is a step toward the future.