One thing, though, is undeniable: You can spot an iPhone a mile away. Regardless of whether it is on or off, or, to be completely honest, if you are staring at its front, back, or even side. Then, driven by a need for innovation (and perhaps a desire for profit), Apple opted to remove one of the aspects that gave the iPhone its distinctive look (perhaps the most important one)…
Yes, we are here to discuss the recently unveiled, lavish Face ID notch replacement on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max! But let me take you on a brief trip down memory lane first. You can skip this section of the tale if you are older than nine years old because you have undoubtedly used an iPhone before. You can debate whether the iPhone is “the best phone in the world,” whether it is sufficiently inventive, or whether iOS is enough customizable.
To cut my nerdy novel short, of course, that’s how the iconic and, more importantly, Face ID-enabled, skateboard ramp-like notch came about. I believe by now we all know how Face ID works, so I won’t bore you with that intel. What’s somewhat important to note, though, is that Apple’s decision to choose Face ID as the new iPhone unlocking solution over others was very… conscious. The alternatives at the time would’ve given the iPhone X a Touch ID button on the side/back, as under-display fingerprint readers weren’t a thing in 2017.
The home button was retired in 2017, at least on Apple’s flagship lineup, to make way for the iPhone X and its home button-less, chin-less display. But at this point, the home button wasn’t just an iPhone design element and Apple’s preferred method of UI navigation… It was also the key to your iPhone. Touch ID has been enjoying a long and happy existence ever since it debuted on the iPhone 5S in 2013, and it was and still is (rightfully) loved by millions. But it was quite literally part of the iPhone’s home button, so… adiós, muchachos. Collateral damage.
Apparently, just days before the official launch of what we thought was supposed to be the iPhone 14 Pro, we find out that Apple’s decided to use software to fill in the space between the two new display cutouts on the iPhone 14 Pro series, making for one large but seamless pill-shaped cutout for Face ID (and not only). According to leaked information shared with 9to5Mac and corroborated by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the space between the two cutouts will be used to show the privacy indicators that tell you when your iPhone’s microphone and camera are in use.
As you might’ve guessed, none of these alternative solutions would’ve worked for anything other than letting you unlock your phone. And that wasn’t extra enough for Apple. For one, the iPhone would’ve started to look very… Android-ish, but more importantly, none of the aforementioned hardware solutions would’ve been recognizable enough to perform the job of a free, walking marketing agency for the iPhone.
Currently, Cupertino places a very small orange dot in the upper-right corner of the display when an application is using your iPhone’s microphone. A green dot appears when an app is using your iPhone’s camera. On the iPhone 14 Pro, Apple will move these indicators and make them far more visible.