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If Apple really is ditching the notch with iPhone 14 it better make use of the extra space

Iphone 14 Dual Hole Concept
Iphone 14 Dual Hole Concept (Image credit: Ian Zelbo)

The last few days have been a whirlwind of iPhone 14 rumors. No matter which way you slice it, at least iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max look set to do away with the infamous Face ID notch and replace it with at least one hole. Recent reports suggest as many as two of them. That's cool and all, but what does it really gain?

Hopefully, at least a battery percentage.

When Apple announced that the notch was going to be smaller on iPhone 13 than it was on iPhone 12, I was hopeful that the pixels we were getting back would be put to good use. That didn't happen and Apple gave us nothing new despite the extra space afforded by the smaller cutout. Now, with rumors strongly suggesting the notch will turn into a pair of holes, we're here again.

I do like the idea of Apple killing the notch off and as much as I thought the hole-punch camera trend was silly, there's something more aesthetically pleasing about a pill-shaped hole. I can even cope with the extra round hole that display analyst Ross Young seems to think we will get.

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But none of this jiggery-pokery really matters if we don't get a functional improvement. If Apple doesn't use the extra space to change something about how iOS works, why bother at all? The notch is fine and it's done the job admirably over the last few years, after all.

So, what could Apple do?

iPhone Battery Icon

iPhone Battery Icon (Image credit: iMore)

I've already banged on about the battery percentage, but that really does need to happen. It's a feature a ton of people miss. But, the world's Apple's oyster here. Back in my jailbreaking days, I remember there were tweaks that would put iMessage icons in the status bar when there were messages to be read. Could Apple do something similar? It could, but I doubt that it will. After all, why new messages and not missed calls? Or tweets, for that matter?

Maybe Apple could let us decide. And no, I wasn't drinking when I wrote that, and yes, I know how unlikely it is. But we can dream, can't we? I still believe the best iPhone is one we have more control over even if nobody inside Apple Park would agree with me.

Really, I just want Apple to do something to show it can revamp iPhone in a meaningful way. I'd take an always-on display, too. And widgets on the lock screen, even if they're little more than Apple Watch complications in disguise. Wouldn't that be cool?

It sure would. And as great as a new pill-shaped camera hole will be, it means nothing if it doesn't come hand in hand with a software change. Come on Apple, treat us won't you?

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

5 Comments
  • I cant believe time is wasted writing articles about the notch.
    I use an iPhone every day, and I dont care about it. I dont notice it. I dont think .05% of iPhone users care.
    But the tech writers have wasted hours writing about the notch. News really slow nowdays.
  • Yep. Just another useless article to get clicks. If people cared about the notch then apple would struggle selling phones and well…..
    Nuff said. Have a great weekend
  • Not true. I also have a Samsung Galaxy and when I'm on my iPhone I realize just how limited the space is for notification icons etc. Once you have the space you'll wonder how you got along without it.
  • Let’s dig deeper. Before the iPhone X redesign the status bar displayed more. Enter the notch. Apple sells even more phones and yes this is after technically regressing in terms of the status bar. The majority don’t care. People buy phones based on the experience IE the operating system. iOS users perfect iOS and Android prefer android. Back to original point. The vast majority of Apple customers don’t care about the notch or the status bar so this story is a non story. They will buy the phone whether it’s a notch. Pill shape, punch hole or whatever and whether or not they put the extra pixels to use makes no difference at all. Sure it would be gray to have the battery percentage but will it change anyone mind on buying. That’s a big no.
  • There is what people accept because, with Apple, there's no choice regarding notch size, and what they would prefer. As for more phones sold now, of course, there are more people buying smartphones. True, people don't buy a phone based on notch size, but why not improve the user experience at all levels.