With this year’s iPhone 14 lineup, Apple introduced the most significant user interface change to its smartphone platform since the Face ID debut on the iPhone X in 2017: Dynamic Island.

Thanks to the many rumors and leaks leading up to the launch of the iPhone 14, we know that Apple will move away from the old camera design, replacing it with a pill-shaped cutout instead. What we didn’t see coming was that Apple had even bigger plans for it.

The iPhone 14 Pro features Dynamic Island at the top of the display.

Unlike most smartphone makers, Apple didn’t want to just punch a hole in the iPhone’s display and try to pretend it wasn’t there. Instead, Apple hung a lamp on it. If you need to have a hole in your phone screen, why not do something useful?

Dynamic Island is on the iPhone 14 Pro

Unfortunately, this is one area where people looking at the cheapest iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus will be disappointed. Balance The iPhone 14 models retain the same grade and screen design as the iPhone 13. Only the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max get the new cube-shaped cutout, therefore, only these Pro models get the Dynamic Island.

The iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island features music.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It’s hard to say if there are any technical limitations involved here. Of course, Apple’s choice to hold back on standard products makes Dynamic Island a non-starter. Even if Apple did something similar to work with the grade, the experience wouldn’t be the same.

During the September launch event, Apple executives noted that the Dynamic Island is designed to take advantage of the 120Hz ProMotion display speed that is unique to the Pro models. However, this is not the same as saying Dynamic Island I need it display 120Hz. It was more about Apple singing the praises of its display technology.

How Dynamic Island works

It seems that the silly name of Dynamic Island belies what is actually one of the best changes coming to the iPhone user in years.

Instead of just leaving a black cutout in the middle of the iPhone’s status bar for people to try to ignore, Apple focused on iOS 16 experience around it. Notifications for Face ID, incoming calls, battery charging, AirPods, and more now extend from the Dynamic Island, making the camera cutout look like it’s there. Small icons appear in the Dynamic Island to display graphics for whatever you’re currently playing, timers and audio meters for phone calls in progress, and more.

Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro.
Apple

What’s more, you can tap Dynamic Island while an action is in progress to open the app behind that action — like Phone, FaceTime, or a music app — or you can press and hold to bring up a pop-up banner. with more details, and even controls for things like playback or call progress. Surprisingly, you can click anywhere on the Dynamic Island for this, even in the middle of the camera cut.

This is just the beginning

For now, at least, Dynamic Island is exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max – but it’s still not reaching its full potential.

We are still waiting for some of the iOS 16 features that Apple showed at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June. One of these is Live Performance, which will take Dynamic Island to a whole new level.

As previously shown, Live Actions updates the notifications that appear on your lock screen, allowing you to see real-time information like sports scores, complimentary ETAs, or even the progress of your Starbucks phone order. In hindsight, it’s clear that Apple built this with Dynamic Island in mind.

The new iOS 16 animation API works on the lock screen.

If you’re using an iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max, you’ll see these Live Actions appear more clearly in Dynamic Island while using your iPhone without interrupting any app you’re using. Logos and scores for your favorite sports teams will appear on the sides of Dynamic Island as the game progresses, and if you’re waiting for a Lyft ride to come pick you up, the ETA will be at the top of the screen for that. you can monitor it while using other apps.

Live Actions is expected to arrive in iOS 16.1 when it ships later in the year. Sports scores are already available in iOS 16.1 betas since those come from Apple’s TV app; other Live Services will rely on third-party developers updating their applications.

Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro shows the arrival time of a Lyft ride.
Apple

While people with iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max will get the most out of this new feature thanks to Dynamic Island, Live Actions will be available for iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, as well as older iPhone models running iOS. 16.1. Without Dynamic Islands, Live Actions will appear as lock screen notifications, as Apple first showed them at WWDC, with regular notification banners falling from the top of the screen while using your iPhone.

What about the iPhone 15?

Although Dynamic Island is currently exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro models, it looks like that won’t be the case next year. Shortly after the launch of the iPhone 14, display analyst Ross Young shared on Twitter that while the cheapest iPhones still won’t have a fast 120Hz display anytime soon, Dynamic Island is expected to come standard on iPhone 15 models next year.

iPhone 14 Pro and 13 Pro camera devices.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Young is closely involved in Apple’s supply chain, so his information is mostly accurate. While it is unlikely that he knows much about Apple’s software plans, his sources may have shared that Apple is moving to a grain-shaped cutout in the entire iPhone 15 lineup. If the screen looks the same, it will be the surprisingly for Apple limited the Dynamic Island to the iPhone 15 Pro model.

It’s actually quite new for Apple to share its iPhone lineup so it’s amazing in the first place. It prides itself on consistency, especially when it comes to user interface. Producing the displays needed to produce hundreds of millions of iPhones is challenging at the best of times, and Apple has faced supply chain problems during the global health crisis of COVID-19. Most of its suppliers have not yet returned to full capacity, and the fact that the iPhone 14 sports a display that is almost unchanged from last year’s iPhone 13 shows that there are not enough parts for both the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models. find Dynamic Island.

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