Dynamic Island & Static Peninsula - Apple Event 2022
This reputation of Apple for excellently integrating software and hardware is the heart of the iPhone's success.
3 min read
Today, Apple blessed us with another word to add to our vocabulary "Dynamic Island," which is something most tech folks are talking about. Like most things, it has created two groups: the first calling Apple a Genius innovator, and others still laughing. Being an iOS Engineer and an avid Apple user, my inner self inclines me toward the former group. But, it is not unreasonable; after all, Apple has also taught us a vital lesson in life today "Resiliency."
When Apple first announced the iPhone X with a notch in 2018, I was sitting at my part-time job watching the keynote. I felt nauseated that this notch obstructs a beautiful edge-to-edge display in the middle. Thankfully, they did not call it the "Static Peninsula" then, and everyone got used to it in a matter of days. We can still agree that the notch was not something you expect from a design-driven company like Apple (ignoring the fact that they also designed the Magic Mouse). In short, the notch was there to stay and was not handled very gracefully.
Over the years, the notch did reduce in size. Finally, cutting to the chase today, Apple launched its latest iPhone with the same notch (with better internals, of course) only moved slightly downwards, giving it the effect of an Island. And before any media company or influencer could call it a "Camera Cutout" – what it actually is – Apple gracefully named it the "Dynamic Island." It would be wrong if Apple left it there after calling it with those fancy words. The resilient quality of Apple came from within (the software).
As Steve Jobs once said:
People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.
This reputation of Apple for excellently integrating software and hardware is the heart of the iPhone's success and what differentiates Apple from its Android counterparts.
Let's take a brief look at how iOS makes Dynamic Island less annoying to the eyes and very useful. Apple never mentions this as a hardware limitation; instead, it introduces it as "a rich and delightful new way to interact with activities, alerts, and notifications." I am entirely in support of that statement. The software brings the Island to life; it feels like the Island is expanding and contracting with a subtle animation that pushes the time and battery icons to the edges of the screen (see above). I feel sympathetic for the engineer and product manager. They had to sit down and tune the parameters of the animation to make it look perfect.
Now that we got the looking well part out of the way, Dynamic Island can also show users quick notifications unobstructedly. Keeping track of a game and directions while navigating were also some other use cases demonstrated in the keynote. Apple mentioned that the iOS developers would be getting a set of guidelines to follow to make the notifications popping out of the Island look consistent no matter what app the user is in. I could not find any documentation related to these guidelines at the time of writing this post; I'll try to keep this post updated whenever it is out.
To close, I'd like to say that Apple has put in so much effort in terms of software to bring the party to this Island. In my humble opinion, this Island is here to stay for the next few iPhones. ✌🏾