Archive for October 11, 2022

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

The Dynamic Island

Sami Fathi:

In a new interview, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, and Apple’s vice president of human interface design, Alan Dye, sat down to discuss the thinking behind the iPhone 14 Pro’s Dynamic Island and how it was developed.


“Personally, I felt as if there was a new life-saving identity on my iPhone,” Federighi said. “It’s a very delicate animation effect, but it’s a little different from anthropomorphism, but I think it gave the iPhone a new strong personality and vitality.”

Here’s the Google translation of the article, which was published in Japanese.

Craig Hockenberry:

The name “notch” entered the vernacular very quickly, but as far as I know, it has never been used by Apple. If pressed, they have referred to it as a sensor housing and other technical names.

I don’t think they particularly like the name “notch”, so they learned a lesson an consciously gave the new housing a name.

If they hadn’t, we’d all be calling the Dynamic Island a “pill” by now.

John Gruber:

Not only does the Dynamic Island now strike me as the obvious answer to what should be done with a sensor array cutout in a phone display, it’s so cool, so fun, so useful that it feels like an obvious reason why you should have a sensor array cutout in a phone display in the first place. When the iPhone X introduced the notch, there were a lot of people who thought Apple should have hidden it by drawing a black notch-height border across the top of the display. Only a fool would argue that the Dynamic Island would be better off hidden like that.


One week in and I’m hooked. I have a regular iPhone 14 to test too, and I’m doing side-by-side comparisons with my year-old iPhone 13 Pro, but those phones feel outdated. Inert. Less fun and less useful. The Dynamic Island is that good.


But instead of increasing complexity system-wide, the Dynamic Island increases simplicity. It’s a major new feature but it reduces the cognitive load of using or checking the status of more than one app at a time. “Useful new feature” always sounds good, but new features generally increase complexity. The Dynamic Island is that rare gem that reduces complexity while adding utility.

Jason Snell:

The Island design language itself can best be described as “whimsical.” It really is sort of like a cartoon character, with sharp animations that make it feel elastic and alive. It will literally bump against other interface elements, like the time, and shake as if it’s made contact with a physical object. It looks especially impressive on the iPhone Pro’s sharp display, with its ProMotion frame rate and a special subpixel anti-aliasing algorithm.

Nilay Patel:

Here’s where I think Apple missed the mark a little: in the keynote and all the ads, the island is shown as a thing that’s worth interacting with — it’s always moving around and going back and forth between the main view and the expanded view. In reality, well, it’s not like that at all.

The island isn’t a primary interface element; it sits over whatever app you’re actually using, and apps are still the main point of the iPhone. In fact, tapping on the island doesn’t open that expanded widget view; it just switches you back to whatever app that controls the widget. To get the expanded widget that’s shown in all the ads, you have to tap and hold. This feels exactly backwards to me. I think a tap should pop open the widget, and I also think you should at least be able to choose between the two behaviors.

Joe Rossignol:

There are currently around 30 things that the Dynamic Island can show, including system alerts for incoming phone calls, AirPods and other accessories being connected, Face ID authentication, Apple Pay, AirDrop, AirPlay, car keys in the Wallet app, unlocking the iPhone with an Apple Watch, charging and low battery indicators, ring/silent mode, various NFC interactions, Focus mode changes, Shortcuts, Airplane Mode, SIM card alerts, and Find My.

Notably, iPhone 14 Pro models no longer display an annoying low battery alert in the middle of the screen when the device drops to 20% battery life remaining, with or without a charger connected, as The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern confirmed to us. Instead, the low battery alert appears in the Dynamic Island and requires no action from the user.

Francisco Tolmasky:

So far what we know about the Dynamic Island is:

  1. Doesn’t work in landscape mode (the controls just disappear).
  2. Doesn’t (currently) work in Reachability. Coming in iOS 16.1
  3. Takes up more space than the notch.

This better be the best UX enhancement ever to justify this…

Jon Gales:

My least favorite part of Apple’s new Dynamic Island is how when playing media it hides what type of mobile network you’re on. You get some extremely small album artwork and a useless animation, but don’t get to know if you’re on 3G/LTE/5G.

Joe Rossignol:

One smaller detail that we have now confirmed is that the Dynamic Island is only visible in screenshots taken on iPhone 14 Pro models while it is being used by apps, or when the camera/microphone indicator dots are active. The screenshot shows the entire Dynamic Island, including any added elements, such as a circular timer icon.

On the other hand, the Dynamic Island does not appear in screenshots when it is completely inactive. In this case, the screenshot simply shows the wallpaper behind the Dynamic Island, which is the same screenshot behavior as on iPhones with a notch.


Notebook to Laptop

Benjamin Mayo:

Apple appears to be rolling out a wide-reaching branding change about how it refers to its Mac portable lineup. Up until recently, Apple officially referred to the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro as “Mac notebooks” or just “notebooks,” leaning on the relatively outdated industry terminology of notebook computers.

But now, everything user-facing appears to be slowly converting to using a “laptop” nomenclature.


With macOS Ventura, a newly set up MacBook Air or MacBook Pro will be called ‘[name]’s Laptop’ by default. (It used to be set to “[name]’s MacBook Air” or “[name]’s MacBook Pro”.)

Guides for Starting Apple App Development

Apple (via Christopher Thielen):

If you’re new to iPhone software development, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the tools and technologies you’ll use. Apple provides everything you need to get started, and iOS technologies help you get the features and performance you want from your apps.


SwiftUI is the preferred app-builder technology, because it offers a modern, platform-agnostic approach to building your UI and app infrastructure. With SwiftUI, you specify your interface programmatically and let the system display and update that interface dynamically, including inside the Xcode editor.


iPad is the ideal platform for delivering desktop-class apps that people can take anywhere. The large screen of iPad, plus support for an external display, let people display more of your app’s content. Magic Keyboard and the multitasking experience with Stage Manager make them more productive, and the power of Apple silicon drives productivity to new levels. Use these capabilities to deliver great business and productivity apps, graphics and creativity apps, media apps, games, and more.

When creating apps for iPad, your initial development path affects many of the decisions you make later. Choose a path based on the type of content you’re offering, and how you want that content to look[…]


The Mac is all about speed and power, and macOS helps you maximize the performance of your apps. Mac is ideal for apps that require raw processing power to execute tasks as quickly as possible. However, you also use it for day-to-day tasks such as communication, news and information, social media, games, and much more.


SwiftUI offers a modern, platform-agnostic approach to building your UI and app infrastructure. Specify your interface programmatically from a set of standard SwiftUI views or create custom views with any appearance you want, and view Xcode present a visual representation of your interface in real-time. At runtime, the system uses your code to build your app’s final interface manage changes to it.

It kind of seems apt that the Mac version of this paragraph didn’t get enough proofreading.


Embrace the living-room experience on Apple TV by delivering content people can enjoy from their couch. Stream the latest entertainment, sports, or news content. Offer a great game or education experience, or deliver personal training sessions from a fitness app. Deliver your content in high-quality formats such as 4K video, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and HDR10. Design your app’s interface to support easy navigation with the Apple TV remote.


On Apple Watch, people interact with apps they download directly from the App Store for Apple Watch, or that accompany a companion iOS app. Apps play an important role, but complications and notifications also help people engage with your content.