A notch above
Bloomberg’s reporting says the devices will launch in October, and that the larger of the two devices will have a ‘notch.’ The notch – that little dip in the screen as seen at the top of the iPhone X and an increasing number of Android devices – has become a divisive bit of smartphone design in recent years.
There’s clearly consumer demand for the notch (it’s trendy!), and from a practical point of view, it’s somewhere to put a front-facing camera and other sensors on phones that otherwise lack bezels. Until it becomes easier to build entirely bezel-free smartphones, we’ll probably have to live with notches.
But for me, the notch shows something else – how there’s room for more creativity in the shapes of phone screens. Back in the 90s and early 2000s, Nokia used to experiment with all sorts of fun designs like the conch-esque 7600
and the dual-screen e90 Communicator
. We’ve lost that sense of adventurous design. Even a giant like Samsung, pumping out multiple Android devices at all sorts of price points each year, sticks the same basic 'flat glass rectangle’ format.
Where are the phones with circular screens? Egg-shaped screens? Star-shaped screens?
A sensible reader will point out market dynamics, mass production costs, operating system limitations, and all sorts of other good reasons why all smartphones look roughly the same. But when phones are such a big part of our lives, it’s a shame they don’t vary in appearance to better reflect our personalities and individual tastes.
And if Apple took a big leap forward in smartphone design with an out-there look, you can bet the rest of market would follow pretty damn quick.