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Mind the notch! Pros and cons of the iPhone X interface vs iPhone 8 (apps, video, browsing)

The new iPhone X design brings on some interface contortions that may become a staple in future iPhones

The new iPhone X design brings on some interface contortions that may become a staple in future iPhones


Apple employed some clever solutions for the interface navigation on its first "bezel-less" handset, the iPhone X. Instead of hitting a home key, you simply swipe from the bottom to get to base, or hold the touch to access your recent apps. 

Alternatively, you can swipe left and right at the bottom where the home indicator is to go back and forth between apps, neat. Pulling down on the left or right of the "notch" will get you the control and notification centers, while holding the lock key will start Siri. 



Apple to devs: hide the X status bar "only in exchange for added value"

That's it, with a few little gestures, Apple negated the demand for a physical home button, got around the bezel "notch" at the top that is the only thing eating into the 5.85" display space, and at the same time avoided replicating Android's virtual navbar that's been around for a while. When it comes to actually displaying stuff on the iPhone X, though, developers are advised that their apps need to account for the new aspect ratio and the notch that eats into the actual display area. Here are the troubles and UI differences that native and third-party apps are supposed to adjust to on the "all-screen" iPhone X.

Display area


We know you are curious how does the new bezel design and aspect ratio of the iPhone X affect its actual viewable screen size when compared to the iPhone 8/Plus. Well, it offers about 20% extra vertical space than the iPhone 8, says Apple, but the screen area is a tad smaller than what the 8 Plus has - about 12.8 vs 13 square inches - on account of the difference in aspect ratios and the notch.

Mind the notch! Pros and cons of the iPhone X interface vs iPhone 8 (apps, video, browsing)

Video


The iPhone X is wiggling into the trendy 2:1 Univisium aspect ratio that most new movies and TV series are being shot with. While it technically has 1125 x 2436 pixels resolution (2.17 aspect), taking into account the status bar around the notch, which Apple advises app developers not to cover unless it will contribute to the experience, the iPhone X covers the Univisium standard to the letter. Samsung does something similar with its 2.05 ratio on the S8/S8+/Note 8, while the LG V30 directly goes to 2:1 (1440x2880 resolution).

The 6.2

The 6.2" Galaxy S8+ fits about as much YouTube video as the 5.5" S7 edge, too


That's all fine and dandy, but how many movies and TV series are there recorded in 2:1? The answer is not that many, and for now the vast majority of content has been made with other standards, including YouTube clips. The result is that on all these new flagships, the iPhone X included, standard videos get cropped, letterboxed or stretched out of proprtion - pick your poison. How did Apple address this issue? 

Well, it seems that regular vids show letterboxed, but double-tap on the screen, and they fill out the display completely, save for the notch area, of course. Some may find this distracting, but remember that the S8 or the V30 also crop, stretch or box, there's just no other way around it for now. Letterboxing will diminish the viewable area probably to around the size the video is on the iPhone 8, while stretching will bring you the notch eyesore while watching - again, pick your poison.

Letterboxed or notched-out, pick your poison on the new flagships' aspect ratio

Letterboxed or notched-out, pick your poison on the new flagships' aspect ratio


Browsing


Reading and browsing is where the new aspect ratio shines on phones like the iPhone X, S8 or V30. Since we get a much larger vertical space compared to the 16:9 brethren, the iPhone X displays more of the page than the 8 Plus, despite having a similar screen area, not to mention the iPhone 8, where you will have to scroll much more to read the same amount of content.

Reading is one area where the iPhone X shines compared to the 8 or 8 Plus

Reading is one area where the iPhone X shines compared to the 8 or 8 Plus


Apps


Well, here things get trickier. Apple is advising all developers to account for the notch, and not to cover the status bar area on its left and right unless it is necessary, and brings something meaningful to the interface of their app. This means that for the majority of apps, their display will end up to the notch, reducing the actual screen area from the official 5.85" screen diagonal. Moreover, Apple warns devs to be aware of the margins at the rounded display corners, and at the home bar indicator at the bottom, hiding it only in situations where it is needed, like watching vids or pics. Mind the gap, as the Brits would say.


Landscape mode


One thing is becoming increasingly clear - landscape mode on the iPhone X will present a bigger challenge, as even Safari appears with white bars on the sides, depending on the website background, and as a result the vertical space of the iPhone X in that position is said to be in the realm of iPhone 8. Check out all the ways that developers are battling with the new iPhone X interface in order to circumvent or incorporate the "bezel-less" design:



Takeaways


Long story short, the new aspect ratio of the iPhone X presents the same challenges as it does on other flagships with it like the S8 or V30, with the added trouble of working around the notch, as on the also-"bezel-less" Essential Phone. It does have disadvantages when watching "standard" video, but is better for reading or browsing, while if an app is designed well, the display outcome is neutral. 

Given that such phones are now Apple's, Samsung's and LG's flagships, though, the trend is clear, and, when comparing the iPhone X interface to the iPhone 8, we may want to keep in mind that one is made to be futureproof, while the other is here to satisfy the legacy iOS crowd. It will be interesting to observe and mark when apps and media made with the new aspect ratio in mind will receive enough critical mass to make 16:9 handsets look strange in their turn. What do you think?

source: Apple

40 Comments
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posted on 14 Sep 2017, 08:44 10

1. abdoualgeria (Posts: 846; Member since: 27 Jul 2015)


Yet phonearena rating of iPhone X will be 9.7 ...

posted on 14 Sep 2017, 13:35 5

18. itsrelevant (Posts: 56; Member since: 24 Aug 2017)


The silicone inside this phone is absolutely mind blowing. Makes me want to upgrade my smartphone seeing nearly 11,000 (newest benchmark being at 10,672 on 11.1.x) multi and 4200 single.. pair that with HECV and HEIF with Apples newly designed encoder and you have yourself a 4k recording powerhouse, WITH 60 FPS too! Download that onto my PC and toss it in Adobe AE to edit/render some awesome footage and call it a day. I wish my GoPro had 4k AT 60fps.

Oh am I praying that Google's upcoming Pixel has something similar in specs! October for the Pixel event here we come!

posted on 14 Sep 2017, 20:46 10

23. ibend2 (Posts: 117; Member since: 16 Mar 2016)


When Samsung release S8, they getting salty..
https://www.phonearena.com/news/You-got-cropped-Galaxy-S8-and-S8-video-display-grief-comes-in-stages-heres-why_id93264
And when apple did something even worse (just look at that weird crop, or huge bezels of letterbox) they defend it..

posted on 14 Sep 2017, 21:26 5

25. omnitech (Posts: 982; Member since: 28 Sep 2016)


lol Double standards like a mother f. Well, to be fair, Apple are experts at working the double standards and ALL mobile phone media to an extent abides by these double standards, its just that iphonearena and the Verge are the absolute worst.

posted on 15 Sep 2017, 12:44 2

31. whatev (Posts: 475; Member since: 28 Oct 2015)


Yet you keep clicking compulsively especially on apple articles, you are doing amazing sweetie, keep clicking and making them rich, you’re really smart

posted on 16 Sep 2017, 10:50

33. ibend2 (Posts: 117; Member since: 16 Mar 2016)


It's not like they'll lost any money if I didn't visit those articles..
And just like most commenters here, I use adblock..

posted on 16 Sep 2017, 18:38

37. whatev (Posts: 475; Member since: 28 Oct 2015)


And what can you tell me about the fact that you are a regular visitor on this site which is supposedly biased towards a brand you hate?

posted on 16 Sep 2017, 12:06 1

34. Nine1Sickness (Posts: 432; Member since: 30 Jan 2011)


That notch should put iPhone X over the top. They should score it 10 out of 10 for it's ugliness alone.

posted on 14 Sep 2017, 08:51 8

2. jeroome86 (Posts: 2202; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)


Apple seems to be proud of the notch. They design a entire phone around a notch it seems.

posted on 14 Sep 2017, 13:37 3

19. itsrelevant (Posts: 56; Member since: 24 Aug 2017)


Honestly, I believe it to be a marketing design. To keep things short (I already wrote too much above), the home button is gone. You have absolutely no way to distinguish the phone as an iPhone anymore. The iPhones home button is an iconic symbol. With just a nice uniform notch-less top, whats to tell its an iPhone from looking at the front of the device?

Marketing.

posted on 15 Sep 2017, 03:02

28. CableTelcontar (Posts: 32; Member since: 19 Nov 2014)


Marketing. Riiight.
"hey, how do we make our all screen phone look different from everyone else and iconic to boot?"
"let's give it a big as snot forehead. I'm sure we can find some hardware stuff to put into the forehead"

Marketing.

posted on 16 Sep 2017, 12:16

36. Nine1Sickness (Posts: 432; Member since: 30 Jan 2011)


Some how, there will be people that will grow to love it. This article was written to console those who does not like the notch but are stupid enough to buy an iPhone X anyway.

posted on 15 Sep 2017, 08:43 2

30. buccob (Posts: 2769; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


I absolutely agree... It was the first thing I thought when I saw early leaks...
The home button and a rectangle has become an instant symbol for representing a "smartphone" and now that it's gone they chose to implement a controversial but easily representable form to identify its devices...

Remember that over the years Apple has managed to shadow general industry terms with their own branding...
Most people (non techies) would refer to an mp3 players as an iPod regardless of the brand... The same goes for tablet "iPads" and to some extent also the iPhone... So it makes sense that besides this oral success they would want to keep their visual success as a symbol

posted on 4 days ago, 23:00

39. ColinW (Posts: 273; Member since: 04 Jun 2014)


Not true Apple could have put the fingerprint scanner in the Apple logo on the back. That would have done the job far better and Apple could boast both front and back biometrics.

posted on 3 days ago, 20:30

40. itsrelevant (Posts: 56; Member since: 24 Aug 2017)


More people dislike the very impractical position of a rear FP reader than not having one at all.

posted on 16 Sep 2017, 12:12

35. Nine1Sickness (Posts: 432; Member since: 30 Jan 2011)


You are right, they designed the phone around the notch. It was an easy solution to an even easier problem. Their stupid engineers couldn't figure out how to fit a forward facing camera, proximity sensor and speaker onto the bezel, so they put a notch into the screen to accommodate it. Smart right?
That kind of thinking should have cut a hole on the bottom to accommodate the home button as well, so that is kind of counter intuitive.

posted on 14 Sep 2017, 09:05 7

3. iphoneXIII (unregistered)


notchgate

posted on 14 Sep 2017, 12:19

14. abdoualgeria (Posts: 846; Member since: 27 Jul 2015)


#facegate

posted on 14 Sep 2017, 12:23 1

15. Sammy_DEVIL737 (Posts: 180; Member since: 28 Nov 2016)


*#hohohoGate

posted on 14 Sep 2017, 09:10 8

4. Sakeem (Posts: 632; Member since: 05 Sep 2012)


The notch makes me think of a screen protector. Just like the flat tire on the Moto 360 watches, I don't like the notch in the Apple X screen.

posted on 14 Sep 2017, 09:11 9

5. YeahYeah (Posts: 77; Member since: 16 Mar 2016)


This is just bad.. worse than i thought.. damn they messed up..

posted on 14 Sep 2017, 10:58 2

10. pecapello (Posts: 50; Member since: 19 Feb 2015)


I know, right ? The notch ruined the phone as a whole. I was seriously considering getting one but the use of the "ears" are a deal breaker to me.
Besides, when I saw that the iPhone 8 Plus battery capacity is 2.675 mah I decided to stick with my iPhone 7 Plus another year - which is powered by a 2.900mah battery.
It's actually a good thing for me since I'll save some cash.

posted on 14 Sep 2017, 09:14 5

6. cmdacos (Posts: 867; Member since: 01 Nov 2016)


Hahahhhahhha that is an atrocious design choice. Wtf.
Also, you show iPhone pulling YouTube to full screen (minus the notch of course, Jesus Christ) but you fail to do the same (you mention it but fail to show the better implementation) with the s8/+/N8 example as well (with no notch tumor btw)and instead make it seem like you are constricted with letterbox bars. Nice work hack authors.

posted on 14 Sep 2017, 09:28 2

7. slannmage (Posts: 238; Member since: 26 Mar 2013)


Get rid of the face scanning crap, then the Notch goes away and you put the finger print scanner in the power button.... not so hard Johnny Ive you hack fraud.

posted on 14 Sep 2017, 09:40 2

8. TheOracle1 (Posts: 506; Member since: 04 May 2015)


Full screen is the operative word for me and the iPhone X doesn't have one. The Mi Mix 2 does.

posted on 14 Sep 2017, 09:54 1

9. omnitech (Posts: 982; Member since: 28 Sep 2016)


Woah! Never thought it was possible but that letterbox is worse than the notch.

The LG and GS8 black bars were very minor. This is terrible. Lol

posted on 14 Sep 2017, 11:09 2

11. tedkord (Posts: 14726; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Actually, most movies are filmed in 1.85:1 or 2.39:1, that's why on your 16:9 TV you have to choose between pan and scan or black bars at the top and bottom. 2:1 will minimize black bars for movies while not hurting 16:9 content.

posted on 14 Sep 2017, 20:49

24. ibend2 (Posts: 117; Member since: 16 Mar 2016)


And this phone can't even display 2:1 content without cropping it with weird shape

posted on 14 Sep 2017, 11:15

12. jack11141 (Posts: 69; Member since: 30 Sep 2015)


Fragmentation on iOS. No more Android fragmentation excuse.

posted on 14 Sep 2017, 11:21

13. jack11141 (Posts: 69; Member since: 30 Sep 2015)


Fragmentation on iOS. No more Android fragmentation excuse.

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