back to article Apple to devs: Give us notch support or … you don't wanna know

iOS developers have a busy two months ahead of them after Apple announced a July deadline to build with the iOS 11 SDK and support the Super Retina display of iPhone X. The rule applies to “all iOS app updates submitted to the App Store”. Apple has not said exactly when in July it will stop accepting app updates built with …

  1. djstardust

    I find this funny

    Back when the iphone came out, Apple were having a go at S60 claiming it was a developers nightmare because of all the different processors and especially screen resolutions. iphone apps were clean and perfect because they didn't have to be developed for the lowest common denominator.

    Wind things on 10 years and ..........

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: I find this funny

      That's what happens when you get an installed base. At least the variations are kept somewhat under control, since they only maintain iOS compatibility about five years back some of the older combinations like 3.5" and non-retina no longer have to be supported. Until last November it was pretty simple, just three sizes and resolutions to support - 4" (5S/SE) 4.7" (6/6S/7/8) and 5.5" (plus variants)

      The X added a fourth, which isn't so bad but they're getting two more this fall so they'll have six to support. Though I suppose that is not much worse than where things stood when the 6 and 6 plus were introduced, and they still supported the 3gs, 4/4S, and 5 giving them a total of five size/resolution combos. At some point developers will probably get a 7th, a smaller SE type form factor with a notch - and it'll be a long wait before they can start dropping the notchless ones.

      Makes sense they'd require notch support for all apps pretty soon, given that fall 2018 will be an all-notch lineup.

      1. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: I find this funny

        There is actually a huge number of device sizes, because you have iPads in three sizes with split screen. The total is around 25 sizes. Any reasonable developer writes code that runs on all device sizes.

        SDK 11 support will be needed as soon as there is any other device with a notch. With iOS 10 you can't find out if the device has a notch and how big it is. You can check that the screen size is that of an iPhone X and assume that every iPhone X sized phone has an iPhone X sized notch, but that will obviously break when the iPhone X+ is released.

  2. James 51 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Why can't they just admit the notch is a bad idea? It might be okay if you stick status stuff in there like battery level, signal strength etc but that should be handled at the OS level. I wouldn't be so annoyed if Apple was inflicting this on just their own customers but lots of other phones are being designed with a notch.

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      They don't admit that it's a bad idea because it isn't a bad idea - it maximises the amount of screen space that your app has with the existing hardware. I would think that the notch will become more and more common, it's starting on Android devices already.

      1. d3vy Silver badge

        "They don't admit that it's a bad idea because it isn't a bad idea - it maximises the amount of screen space that your app has with the existing hardware. I would think that the notch will become more and more common, it's starting on Android devices already."

        Does it though? Does that tiny bit of screen space on the left and right of the notch make a difference?

        Ive tried a few phones with notches and I really don't see the point.

        Its a gimmick or a workaround depending how you look at it - apple wanted to be the first to claim an edge to edge display and the only way they could do that was to cut out a portion of the screen to make space for the speaker, camera and proximity sensor.

        So because apple wanted to wave its dick around we get a bloody notch which will be copied by other manufacturers to the detriment of actual innovation.

        I'd much rather have a thin bezel at the top of my screen than an immovable black box right in the middle.

      2. Piro

        It doesn't maximise anything.

        It's just ugly. It would be fine, as said, handled at OS-level with a black background to disguise the absolute hideousness of it, and use the small areas at either side for time/other icons.

      3. JohnFen Silver badge

        But it's a terrible idea as currently implemented. If they lowered the status bar so it resided entirely below the notch then it wouldn't be so bad, just unnecessary. But as they're using it, it's awful.

      4. Tikimon Silver badge
        FAIL

        YES, IT'S A BAD IDEA

        "They don't admit that it's a bad idea because it isn't a bad idea - it maximises the amount of screen space that your app has with the existing hardware"

        Funny, my Galaxy doesn't need to cripple the screen so the hardware can keep up. "Maximizing screen space" means using ALL of it, not leaving some dead.

        Apple never admits error, why would they back off on this one? "Notch" is Newspeak for Dead Zone, and it exists solely to pretend the screen is a given length, when it's really only as long as the center under the Dead Zone. Neither function nor user experience is improved by it.

        Would you buy a television with a big black dead zone poking in at the top? I seriously doubt it.

      5. DragoCubed

        FYI these are some screen to body ratios

        iPhone X: 82.9%

        Galaxy S9: 83.6%

        Galaxy S8: 83.6%

        Essential PH-1: 84.9%

        I don't think notches are too bad as long as they can be "disabled". I do think they're a compromise either way. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Why can't they just admit the notch is a bad idea?

      Because Apple rarely does that. It usually finds a way to deflect the attention (remember antennagate?) while it works on a fix, or in this case, the suppliers work on a fix.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        It's odd - I have a notch-less phone with OLED display. My black status bar therefore looks like the black bezel if the phone, other than the icons. These icons look like they'd nestle neatly to the sides of the earpiece. The first vendor to place status icons in line with the camera and earpiece was LG with their V20 in 2016 - only they used a discrete secondary display.

        However, my phone is a Galaxy so there's too many other sensors stuck up there for Samsung to use a notch, unless they ditch the IR iris scanner.

        I like the 2:1 aspect ratio, it allows you to use the keyboard and see where you're typing at the same time - currently I can see six lines in this Regard comment box, having a notch would allow seven lines (or have a permeant number row on the keyboard).

  3. peterm3
    Coat

    why nothing about the iMac's 20th birthday?

    An Apple article, but nothing about the iMac. Would be good to have an article soon :-)

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: why nothing about the iMac's 20th birthday?

      They tried to type it on their MacBook but the keyboard kept breaking...

  4. Dropper

    Notch Support

    If the rumour sites are to be believed.. and they usually get things at least 1/2 right.. then pretty much all new iOS models are going to follow the same design as the iPhone X.. which is probably why they are insisting on everyone support the thing.

    I have an iPhone X.. the notch is a necessary part of the phone. Doesn't look good, but I know why it's there. Could they have designed the thing differently? Probably, in the same way they could have waited a year and nailed down the behind-glass fingerprint sensor they were going to use.

    I don't have an issue with being pushed to support the latest SDK, that's best practice anyway. I do have issues with their rushed design philosophy. This is new for Apple. In years past, for all the flaws in their over-priced products, they at least made good-looking stuff.

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: Notch Support

      I don't have an issue with being pushed to support the latest SDK, that's best practice anyway.

      Best practice for Apple, perhaps, because it forces people to upgrade their development hardware more often than is strictly necessary.

      To use the latest SDK, you have to have the latest Xcode. To use the latest Xcode you have to have the latest version of MacOS. To use the latest MacOS, you need a Mac that doesn't keel over and die when you install said OS on it.

      I'm guessing I'll be forced to upgrade my iMac (which I only bought for iOS development and never actually use as a real computer) this time next year for those very reasons.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems fair enough...

    ^ see title.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Problem sold as a feature

    The notch is a problem repackaged as a feature. If they work out how to have the camera and facial recognition technology in a thin border, that will be sold as a new feature - solving the problem of having a notch.

    Genius in making money really. Shame it's going to be an annoynance until phones with notches have died away.

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