A Walk Down Memory Lane: Evolution of iPhone bezels and display notch

A Walk Down Memory Lane: Evolution of iPhone bezels and display notch

This week marks the fifth anniversary of Apple revealing the iPhone X, one of the biggest redesigns in ‌iPhone‌ history. Among other innovations, the ‌iPhone‌ X introduced the ‌iPhone‌ notch with Face ID and a design language that has persisted over the past few years.

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In memory of the notch turning five this week, we thought we’d take a look back at the history of the ‌iPhone‌ display bezels and how they evolved into the pill-shaped cutout they become today. today.

The era of the thick bezel

Front of iPhone 6s

In the first decade since the debut of the ‌iPhone‌ in 2007, all iPhones featured relatively thick bezels at the top, bottom, and sides of the display. The bezels were black or white, depending on the color of your device. The bezels were particularly thick at the top and bottom, given the need to house the front camera, earpiece and home button, which won Touch ID in 2013.

In those early years, Apple barely touched the bezel design around the ‌iPhone‌ display, retaining the thick “forehead and chin” bezels as screens gradually grew from 3.5 inches over the first generations to 5.5 inches with the “Plus” variants of the ‌iPhone‌ 6, 6s and 7. It wasn’t until 2017 that things started to change drastically.

Say hello to the notch

iphone x notch

When Tim Cook announced the ‌iPhone‌ X at the Steve Jobs Theater in 2017, he used Apple’s signature phrase “One more thing” to mark the unveiling of the most significant redesign in ‌iPhone‌ history. The ‌iPhone‌ X introduced several new features to the ‌iPhone‌, the most notable being ‌Face ID‌ housed in a new notch that protruded into the top edge of the screen.

With this significant change to the ‌iPhone‌ display, Apple had to rethink the way iOS handled content. The new design also meant that third-party apps had to be updated to support the notch and be sized correctly for the new display. The notch remained a key design element of the ‌iPhone‌ for four years until it was hit again.

The notch gets smaller

iPhone 13 vs iPhone 12 enlarged notch comparison

With the notch remaining essentially unchanged on the ‌iPhone‌ X, ‌iPhone‌ XS/XR, iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 generations, Apple finally succeeded in reducing its width with the iPhone 13. The notch on the ‌iPhone 13‌ was reduced in width but slightly higher. . The change was subtle, but it underscored Apple’s efforts to minimize and ideally remove the notch, which would see another milestone a year later.

Welcome to the dynamic island

fickle digital island iphone 14

Five years after the notch’s debut, Apple is finally moving on, upgrading the notch on the latest iPhone 14 Pro and ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ Max to a pill-shaped cutout separate from the display frame. While the cutout may look like one large pill-shaped display intruder, it’s actually two separate cutouts digitally fused together and hidden within the iOS user interface via a feature Apple calls Dynamic Island.

Dynamic Island is a whole new way to interact with the ‌iPhone‌ that integrates the pill-shaped cutout into the iOS experience by moving alerts, notifications, and other information to the top of the screen and around the cutout , which resizes itself numerically to fit what is being displayed. Dynamic Island has received accolades since its unveiling last week, with some calling it “Apple’s best design work in years”.

And after?

Beyond iPhone 13 Better Triad

With the move to a pill-shaped and punch-hole cutout on the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ and ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ Max, the question becomes what comes after Dynamic Island. While the end goal may be a completely non-intrusive design with no notches or cutouts, that could be far in the future until the technology to adequately hide the various cameras and sensors under the display exists.

Rumors currently suggest that Apple plans to bring Dynamic Island to the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus models next year as the feature descends from the higher end models, so it seems likely that the Apple’s notch replacement is here to stay for at least another few years. What would you like to see as the next major design change on the ‌iPhone‌? Let us know in the comments.

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