The first set of iPhones with Notches was announced in September 2017 and all Apple’s flagship phones since then have come with it. Well, with the exception of 2 out of the 2022 flagships.
iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max come with what Apple calls Dynamic Island which is similar to Samsung’s Infinity-O/Punch-hole but bigger and better implemented.
In this write-up, I will explore what a notch is, which iPhones have it, and why Apple introduced it to their phones.
All The iPhones with Notches
- iPhone 14
- iPhone 14 Plus
- iPhone 13 mini
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPhone 12 mini
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XR
- iPhone X
What is a Notch and Why Do iPhones Have it?
A Notch is a cut-out usually at the top of a smartphone that houses the front-facing camera, speaker, and a couple of sensors.
This takes us to why the iPhones have them. I will take you down memory lane to explain this, so bear with me.
Smartphones look used to be very different in 2016 before the era of Notches, pun-hole, tear-drop, and water-drop displays started in 2017 and 2018.
They used to have big bezels at the top which usually housed the selfie camera, front speaker, sensors, etc, and at the bottom which usually housed the home button.
The home button of an iPhone since 2013 has also doubled as Touch ID which is a Biometric security measure that uses your fingerprint to unlock your device, make payments, and more. So, since the iPhone 5s, all iPhones announced come with Touch ID until 2017.
In Q3 of 2017, Apple announced 3 devices (iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X). iPhone X was a design game changer. It got rid of the traditional top and bottom bezels and trimmed down the side bezels. But there was a compromise, there had to be a Notch. Why?
Remember, that the old design housed some important things in the top and bottom bezels. All these things at the top were moved into the Notch and the home button/Touch ID was replaced with Face ID.
What is inside the Notch of an iPhone are an Infrared Camera, Flood Illuminator, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Speaker, Microphone, Front Camera, and Dot Projector.
The Face ID or face recognition or face unlock system makes use of what Apple called the True Depth Camera system and that system comprises the Flood Illuminator, Dot Projector, Front-Facing Camera, and Infrared Camera that resides inside the notch.
And iPhone has the best Face Unlock technology of any smartphone. It is more secure and has some features that are based on it.
Why do iPhones Still Have Notches?
Numerous people have been asking why iPhones still have the notch considering the fact that most Android flagships have been using punch-hole display just fine for years now and it is less intrusive than the notch and since there is also now an in-display fingerprint sensor that works well.
Well, there are a number of reasons for that. I believe Apple like the fact that the Notch is iconic and unlike at the beginning when many manufacturers were also using it, is now unique to the iPhones and other Apple products.
As for the in-display fingerprint sensor, it is still not as secure as the Face ID and it will be hard to incorporate features such as Animoji and Memoji into it even if Apple were to decide to go back to Touch ID.
So, for now, I think their best option is to find a way to continue to reduce the Notch just like we see with the iPhone 13 family that features a notch that is less wide than their predecessors though taller.
Update September 2022: Well, it seems I was on the right track. Because with the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max, there is no notch anymore just what Apple calls Dynamic Island.
I think we will keep seeing iPhones with Notches that is smaller until they completely get rid of it without necessarily compromising any of the cool features that the users are already used to.
How they will do it, I don’t know but I think sooner rather than later, we will see iPhones without a notch and even the punch hole dubbed Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.