The first iPhone 14 Pro models are making their way to customers' doors. Soon, millions of Apple users will begin experiencing the all-new and oddly named "Dynamic Island." Although it might not happen this year, Apple bringing this feature to Mac sounds like a no-brainer and a great way to push macOS into new directions.
What's Dynamic Island
The biggest (and perhaps only) surprise from Apple's "Far Out" event this month, Dynamic Island, is a physical cutout that sits at the top of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. It replaces the traditional notch (that remains on the iPhone 14 and upcoming iPhone 14 Plus), which first arrived on the iPhone X in 2007.
Besides housing the phone's front-facing camera system, Dynamic Island includes sensors and hardware to add extra functionality. Moreover, as its name suggests, Dynamic Island can morph and adapt depending on what's happening on the iPhone's display. In other words, it's very cool.
Three Macs are expected to get an update as early as next month, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro and the 24-inch iMac. Of these, the MacBook Pro models already have camera notches, which suggests Dynamic Island would be much easier to implement on these devices. Regardless, it could work brilliantly on each of the three Macs.
Dynamic Island on iPhone gives users an additional menu screen. You can see notifications from here, alongside expanding bubbles showcasing music, sports scores, and more. On my iPhone 14 Pro Max, I'm most excited about being able to control apps from this location, although how Dynamic Island handles notifications also sounds promising.
Currently, on macOS Big Sur (and its successor, Ventura), notifications can arrive via a banner on the top right side of the display; they can also pile up in Control Center. From there, you can also find the Music player and other controls. Of course, Apple has improved Control Center considerably on macOS. And yet, I think shifting some of these items to a Mac-based Dynamic Island would freshen things up and save some precious real estate.
On the current 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro, the notch is nearly forgotten because of the way apps can hide it during use. However, in many situations, this behavior is perfect. For example, there is no reason to see a black notch when using productivity apps like Microsoft Word, and you don't.
And yet, I would like to see that location come alive with some added flair when using apps like Music, Photos, and perhaps even Safari. (Think of a beautifully designed Music notifier that alerts you whenever a new song gets played.)
Down the road?
The new iPad Pro is set to arrive next month. No doubt, if Apple decides to bring Dynamic Island to more devices, that's probably where it will start. And yet, don't be surprised if future Macs also receive the feature, although probably later down the road.
Apple is typically slow and steady when making Mac design changes. And because the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro, and 24-inch iMac feature fresh hardware updates, it might be years before Apple even considers adding Dynamic Island. It's also entirely possible the feature never goes beyond iPhone.
No matter what happens, it's always great to see Apple announce that one feature each year that truly surprises us, which is what it did with Dynamic Island. Hopefully, we'll be seeing more of it in the coming years, perhaps even the future best Macs.
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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.
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