2018 is in full swing and we are expecting a great deal of advancements in our technology. If you’re interested in tech, you’re probably well aware of some of the most popular tech trends in the smartphone industry. Facial recognition, bezel-less displays and artificial intelligence are some of the most prominent features expected for this year; however, there is one feature that, at first was openly ridiculed, and yet, somehow, has become one of the hottest new characteristics of any phone. What feature could possibly sweep the entire smartphone market? The notch.
Back in September of 2017, after months of speculation, Apple finally unveiled its highly-anticipated device: the iPhone X. Featuring an almost bezel-less display, a brand new way to control the UI and revolutionary facial recognition technology, the iPhone X’s sleek new design and hardware upgrades were a breath of fresh air to the aging handset designs. But there was one design choice that most critics, and fans, couldn’t seem to get over: the notch. In order to house the facial recognition camera on the front of the phone, Apple’s designers compromised some screen real estate by biting a chunk of the actual screen out of the phone; the phone’s display is left with a small notch as a result. Critics and fans alike heavily chastised the phone’s cutout, claiming that it ruined the aesthetic of the otherwise pleasing device, and that it made it impossible to view anything properly.
The decision by Apple to include the notch was heavily panned by other smartphone manufacturers, and interestingly enough, several of the same manufacturers have decided to incorporate notches on their own devices. Asus, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of consumer electronics, has copied the iPhone’s notch on their latest Zenphone 5; LG, another incredibly well-established consumer electronics company, is allegedly planning to incorporate a notch of their own on their LG G7 which releases this summer; Huawei, who has recently gained some traction in western markets with their smartphones, is also planning a notch for the P20.
While copying and implementing competitors’ features and designs is normal and even healthy for competition and market advancement, this type of blatant duplication doesn’t progress the industry in any way, shape or form. These manufacturers are copying the iPhone’s notch solely for the fact that it will make their devices seem more like the newest iPhone; they are hoping to cash in on consumers’ inability to afford the iPhone X, which has an admittedly exorbitant price tag of $1,000.
The real problem with this kind of replication is the fact that the notches on LG, Huawei and Asus’ phones are purely cosmetic. The notch on the iPhone X serves a purpose as it holds the camera and earpiece of the device; these other manufacturers have not using that notch space for any practical reason. In fact, in most cases, they haven’t even adapted the Android software to accommodate the notches.
To make matters worse, the notch isn’t even a beloved design choice by Apple. Again, several people lambasted the tech giant for featuring such an “ugly” feature on their latest flagship. It is very surprising to see other manufacturers copy such a widely disliked feature solely for the fact that Apple did it. While I appreciate and understand that Apple tends to be a trendsetter in the smartphone industry, I truly hope that other smartphone manufacturers do not continue to copy Apple in such a blatant, sloppy and rushed manner.