Apple Devoted an Entire Ad to the iPhone 14 Pro’s Dynamic Island. It’s Brilliant

You probably already know that, earlier this month, Apple introduced its latest iPhones–four of them to be exact. There’s the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Basically, you get to choose big or bigger, regular or Pro.

Usually, the difference between the regular and the Pro has to do with the cameras. There are more of them, for example, and they’re more capable and higher quality.

This year, however, the Pro iPhones have something the regular versions don’t, and it’s the biggest change to the iPhone since the iPhone X. That’s because the company replaced the iconic “notch” which housed the Face ID sensor and front-facing camera, and replaced it with what it calls the Dynamic Island.

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It’s basically a resizable blob that shows you information like directions, or what song is playing, or whether you have a timer running in the background. It’s a lot cooler than I just made it sound.

Here’s how the company’s head of human interface, Alan Dye, described it during the keynote:

Our goal was to design a space that clearly and consistently surfaces alerts and background activity in a rich and delightful way. The result being an entirely new and intuitive way to interact with iPhone–one that truly blurs the line between hardware and software.

It really is pretty cool, and it’s only going to get cooler as apps are able to take advantage of the new Live Activities feature in iOS 16.1, which is expected to come out in the near future. Apple is so proud of Dynamic Island, it’s even running an ad during NFL football games to introduce it.

Think about it for a minute. Apple decided to run an ad introducing a feature of the iPhone 14 Pro, and the first thing it chose to promote isn’t the new 48MP camera, the always-on display, the new Lock Screens, or any of it. The first ad is about the cutout for the Face ID sensor and front-facing camera.

I think that’s notable considering Apple did not once run an ad for the notch on previous versions of the iPhone. I’m pretty sure it never even referred to it by that name.

Of course, to be fair, the Dynamic Island is a software feature, not a hardware design. It’s not the cutout, it’s what Apple is doing around the cutout. It’s a user interface that allows you to glance at information, or even interact with apps running in the background.

The point is, it is a completely new way of interacting with your iPhone, and it’s something no other smartphone has. That’s why making it the focus of Apple’s first ad campaign is so brilliant–it’s the coolest new thing in smartphones since, I don’t know, Touch ID?

The ad does a fantastic job of representing just how playful and delightful it is. It almost makes your iPhone feel like it has a personality. It seems very cool because it is very cool.

Look, the iPhone is obviously Apple’s most important product. In some ways, it’s the most important product made by any company. On its own, the iPhone is bigger than every other tech company except for Amazon and Google. More people in the US own an iPhone than any other smartphone. It’s almost entirely responsible for making Apple the most valuable company on earth.

The reason people love their iPhones is because of the overall experience of using one. It’s because of the way everything works together. It’s because Apple is able to design the entire device and the way the hardware and software work together–something no other smartphone-maker can do. Well, technically Google does make both Android and the Pixel, but almost no one actually buys them, despite it being a perfectly fine device.

Here’s the thing–the Dynamic Island is really the very best of what Apple does. It’s the obvious thing to do with a sensor cutout, and yet no one ever thought of it before. Mostly, that’s because no other manufacturer thinks about the device and software as creating a single experience.

It’s also the obvious thing to do with many of the interactions we have on an iPhone on a regular basis. If you’re listening to a podcast or to music while you do anything else on your iPhone, there is no immediate way to control that experience. It requires either pulling down from the top to access the Now Playing controls on the Lock Screen or pulling down Control Center.

Or, if you’re sending email or scrolling through Twitter while you’re waiting for an Uber, it only makes sense that you should be able to see when it arrives without having to open another app.

When you think about it, it makes perfect sense that Apple paid good money to highlight a feature that you can only get on an iPhone 14 Pro. It’s Apple showing off what only Apple can do, with a feature you can only get on its best flagship device. That’s brilliant.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

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