Does the iPhone 14 have the dynamic island?

Does the iPhone 14 have the dynamic island?

With this year’s iPhone 14 lineup, Apple introduced the most significant user interface change to come to its smartphone platform since Face ID debuted on the iPhone X in 2017: dynamic island.

Thanks to a slew of rumors and leaks leading up to the iPhone 14 launch, we’ve learned that Apple will move away from the long-running camera design, and replace it with a bean-shaped cutout instead. What we didn’t expect is that Apple has bigger plans for it.

Unlike most smartphone makers, Apple didn’t want to punch a hole in the iPhone screen and try to pretend it didn’t exist. Instead, an Apple Lantern hung on it. If you need a hole punch in your smartphone screen, why can’t you an act something useful with it?

Dynamic Island is on iPhone 14 Pro

Unfortunately, this is an area where people looking forward to Apple’s affordable iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus devices will be disappointed. Standard The iPhone 14 models keep the same screen design and notch as the iPhone 13. Only the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max get the new pill-shaped notch, so only these Pro models get the Dynamic Island.

The iPhone 14 Pro's dynamic island displays music playing.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

It is difficult to determine if there are any technical limitations involved here. Sure, Apple’s choice to keep the notch on the standard models makes the Dynamic Island a no-brainer. Even if Apple did something similar to work with First Class, the experience wouldn’t be the same.

During a launch event in September, Apple executives noted that the Dynamic Island was designed to take advantage of the 120Hz ProMotion display exclusive to the Pro models. However, this is not the same as saying the dynamic island required 120 Hz display. It was more about Apple singing to praise its display technology.

How does dynamic island work

The seemingly silly name of the dynamic island belies what is actually one of the most exciting changes to the iPhone user interface in years.

Instead of just leaving a black separator in the middle of the iPhone status bar for people to try to ignore, Apple focused on Experience iOS 16 around. Notifications for Face ID, incoming calls, battery charging, AirPods, and more from Dynamic Island are now expanded, making the camera cutout feel like it belongs there. Small icons appear constantly in Dynamic Island to show thumbnail artwork of whatever you’re currently playing, timers and volume counters for ongoing phone calls, etc.

Dynamic island on iPhone 14 Pro.

Furthermore, you can tap Dynamic Island while in an activity to open the app behind that activity — like the Phone, FaceTime, or Music apps — or you can tap and hold to bring up a pop-up banner with more details, and even controls for things like playback or ongoing calls. Surprisingly enough, you can press anywhere on the dynamic island for this, even in the middle of the camera hole.

This is only the beginning

For now, at least, Dynamic Island is exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max — but it also hasn’t yet reached its full potential.

We’re still waiting for some of the iOS 16 features that Apple showed off at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June. One such activity is Live Activities, which will take Dynamic Island to a whole new level.

As noted at the time, Live Activities dynamically updates the notifications that appear on the lock screen, allowing you to see real-time information such as sports scores, ETAs, or even your Starbucks order placed on mobile. In hindsight, it’s clear that Apple built this with Dynamic Island in mind.

The new Live Activities API for iOS 16 works on the lock screen.

If you are using an iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max, you will see these live activities appear more discreetly in Dynamic Island while using your iPhone without interrupting any app you are using. Logos and scores for your favorite sports teams will appear on opposite sides of the dynamic island as the game progresses, and if you’re waiting for a Lyft to pick you up, your estimated time of arrival will remain at the top of the screen. You can monitor it while using other apps.

Live Activities is expected to arrive in iOS 16.1 when it ships later in the year. Sports scores are already available in the iOS 16.1 beta because those results come from the Apple TV app; Other direct activities will depend on third-party developers updating their apps.

Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro shows Lyft flight arrival time.

While people using the iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max will get the most out of this new feature thanks to Dynamic Island, Live Activities will still be available for iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, as well as older iPhone models running iOS 16.1. Without Dynamic Island, Live Activities will appear as permanent lock screen notifications, just as Apple initially displayed at WWDC, with the usual notification banners dropping from the top of the screen while you’re using your iPhone.

What about the iPhone 15?

Although Dynamic Island is currently exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro models, it looks like that won’t be the case next year. Shortly after the launch of the iPhone 14, display analyst Ross Young Subscribed to Twitter That while more affordable iPhones won’t get a faster 120Hz screen anytime soon, Dynamic Island is expected to come to the standard iPhone 15 models next year.

iPhone 14 Pro and 13 Pro camera modules.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Young is well connected to Apple’s supply chain, so his information is usually pretty accurate. While he’s unlikely to know much about Apple’s software plans, it’s possible his sources have shared that Apple is moving to pill form across the entire iPhone 15 lineup. If the screens looked the same, it would be very strange to limit Apple Dynamic Island to the iPhone 15 Pro models.

In fact, it’s quite unusual for Apple to split its iPhone lineup so dramatically in the first place. It prides itself on consistency, especially when it comes to UI design. Getting the displays needed to produce hundreds of millions of iPhones is tough in the best of times, and Apple has faced several supply chain issues during the global COVID-19 health pandemic. Many of its suppliers still haven’t been able to return at full capacity, and the fact that the iPhone 14 has a display that’s virtually unchanged from last year’s iPhone 13 suggests there aren’t enough parts for both the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models to get the dynamic island.

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