Following the iPhone X launch with what was, at the time, the controversial display notch, it seems like almost every day we’re seeing news of either a rumoured and leaked, or freshly launched Android handset with a notch in the display as well.
Recent schematic leaks of Apple’s late-2018 iPhones – at least the iPhone X Plus and “budget” iPhone model – appear to show that, contrary to some earlier rumours, the notch isn’t being removed from Apple’s line-up either.
It seems the flagship-grade iPhone X Plus (and presumably the regular-size iPhone X successor, which we are yet to see) has a reduced notch size, but it is not gone entirely. The budget iPhone, which has a 6.1in LCD display, still has a notch in a similar size and configuration to the current iPhone X.
There seems to be a lot of commotion around this subject; virtually all the coverage I’ve seen of new devices with notched displays seems to come with some sideways jab about “copycat” antics and references to the iPhone X.
Frankly, I think this is an absurd double-standard. So if Apple iPhone’s adopt dual-sensor cameras and 18:9 OLED displays (after Android devices) this is just following a “trend”, but if Android phones start using display notches this is a “copycat””?
It’s just a nonsense. With current technology levels, there’s really only a limited number of things smartphone makers can do to give users more screen real estate – which is why the arrival of folding OLEDs is going to be so important.
On top of that, a lot of the derisory analysis seems to be on the basis of the idea of the “notch” being a short-lived trend. This is by no means certain at this point.
But even if it’s true, so what? A lot of smartphone tech is iterative and short-lived as technology levels slowly upgrade, case in point the semiconductor technology used in CPUs.
Should you care about the notch? Should you care if lots of smartphone makers are using them?
I’d argue no. Personally, I don’t care about the notch, and I don’t think it’s a copycat issue, it’s just an obvious solution to the desire to expand screens while preserving front-facing cameras and the other sensors needed in the front panel of a modern smartphone.
I don’t care about the similarity across brands any more than I care about cars having similar headlight or wing-mirror designs. If it gets the job done, so be it.
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.