Dynamic Island on iPad isn't as great an idea as it sounds – here's why

iPad Pro with island image
(Image credit: Image by Elias from Pixabay)

It's still early, but it's becoming clear that the iPhone 14 Pro (and iPhone 14 Pro Max) is quickly becoming another winning product for Apple. The premium smartphone is so popular that the company has decided to slash iPhone 14 manufacturing capacity to boost iPhone 14 Pro production just days after both models were released. 

What's behind the iPhone 14 Pro's early popularity? No doubt, it's Dynamic Island, a new hardware and software creation that resides at the top of the phone to provide notifications and oh-so-much-more

Dynamic Island will probably eventually make the jump to MacBook. Beforehand, however, Apple could introduce the new feature on new iPads. 

Implementing Dynamic Island on iPad could prove tricky, however.

iPad isn't iPhone

It goes without saying (but I'll do it anyway) that iPhones and iPads are different beasts. One area where they differ significantly is orientation. 

Since the first iPad in 2010, the Apple tablet has always been designed to perform equally well in both landscape and portrait mode. Meanwhile, although many apps and functions on iPhone now work horizontally (games, streaming, etc.), Apple's top product focuses primarily on offering a vertical display experience. 

Because of this, the front-facing camera on the iPhone has always sat squarely at the top middle of the device when holding it in portrait mode. Since the iPhone X launched in 2017, most iPhones have included a noticeable notch that houses the face-facing camera. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max include a much smaller pill-shaped design, which Dynamic Island hides without affecting the camera. 

On iPad, the front-facing camera is also positioned at the top vertically, which would seem a little bit weird on a device that many use much more often in a horizontal position. However, it's less of a problem because of Center Stage, a feature that combines machine learning and the tablet's Ultra Wide camera to keep you in the middle of the screen during video calls — regardless of the tablet's orientation. 

Dynamic Island for iPad Pro concept

(Image credit: Parker Ortolani)

If Apple's planning to bring Dynamic Island to its lineup of tablets, it would have to do so differently than it did on iPhone. Specifically, instead of only being available at the top of portrait mode, Dynamic Island on iPad would need to be available on all four sides in both portrait and landscape mode. And Apple would need to do so without the feature having a significant adverse effect on the device's power. 

Can this be done? Probably so on next-generation iPad Pro models that are expected to include M2 chips for the first time. What about on other iPads, including upgrades to the best ones? Probably not, at least not quite yet. 

When will Dynamic Island arrive on an iPad?

At an event in October, Apple's largely expected to reveal a new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro. It's my guess, however, that Dynamic Island won't make the jump to iPad at that time. However, there are rumors Apple could announce an all-new 14-inch tablet in 2023. Perhaps this will be the first tablet that will offer the new feature.

I'm still convinced that a better way is for Apple to add Dynamic Island to next-generation versions of the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro or even an updated iMac. We'll find out soon enough, as those new devices could also appear at Apple's to-be-announced October event. 

There's another question worth considering. If Dynamic Island is software-based, wouldn't it make sense if it could easily be added to some current iPads through an iPadOS update? Sure, but I would assume Apple would only bring the feature to existing iPads that support Stage Manager, an iPadOS 16 feature that only works on the 2021 iPad Pro and 2022 iPad Air. 

Stay tuned.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.