If ever there was a company that seems to dominate technology designs it is Apple, and by design, I mean not just how a device works but more along the lines of look and feel; a more traditional definition.
Look at premium Windows PC notebooks. What do they look like? A MacBook. What do most tablets look like? iPad. What do most smartphones look like? iPhones. In fact, smartphones today still look much like Apple’s original in 2007.
Apple has a history of taking technology and functions that already exist and turning them into the the design standard that the rest of the industry follows. Point and click? Apple didn’t invent the graphical user interface (thank you, Xerox PARC), but Apple made it work for the rest of us– Windows PCs included.
We see Apple’s design influence in other ways, too, and one of the most recent is in iPhone X’s much derided and criticized Notch at the top of the display. Some say ugly. Some say functional. Whatever your religion, most of us forgot about it after a few hours of using iPhone X. The Notch serves a very useful function.
First, it is the area which houses a whole array of sensors and other tech goodies– camera, microphone, speaker, dot projector, infrared camera, flood illuminator, light and proximity sensor, et al. Apple could have left the standard forehead in the design, but the Notch allows for more screen utilization for additional uses– the so-called horns or ears either side of the Notch.
As much as Apple critics and design-know-it-alls thought Notch was horrific design, guess who thought different? Apple, of course. And, now iPhone X competitors.
A growing number of smartphone manufacturers are adding a similar Notch-like notch to their displays. Oppo, Huawei, ASUS, Vivo, and others have models with a notch. And Apple didn’t even invent the Notch. We saw the first one with Essential. The latest is the highly acclaimed copy cat LG G7 ThinQ.
Obviously, Apple cannot patent such a utilitarian design component and Samsung hasn’t bothered to go there. Yet. But that hasn’t stopped a growing cadre of copycats from taking a bite from Apple’s design.
Critics can argue all day about the size of smartphone micro-bezels or the size of an iPhone X-like notch, but is seems as if Apple continues to push new design boundaries– often borrowed from the past or elsewhere– which become the standard. In this case, Apple could have just left in the common forehead and called it a day. But a notch also provides more utility to valuable screen real estate.
Of course, I enjoy being a bit of a contrarian so we could say that Apple didn’t invent the Notch (Essential had it first, if not others) but I could easily say that Apple took function over form by adding ears or horns of visual elements in the display’s forehead area.
It’s all just a matter of how you look at it, right?