About the iPhone X notch controversy

The iPhone X was already controversial even before it was officially introduced last Tuesday, mostly due to the rumored removal of Touch ID in favor of Face ID.

However, Apple’s presentation caused a new controversy: the infamous notch. Even though the array of cameras and sensors got leaked long before the event, nobody knew how Apple was planning to do in order to integrate it with iOS 11. We have the answer now: Apple is so proud of that black bar that they decided to render the user interface around it.

Since Apple controls the operating system, they made sure it looks good with most 1st party apps. But what happens with 3rd party content like a website? The notch gets in the way.Safari adds two very noticeable white bars around the content to work around the notch, creating a horrendous experience with many webpages. And when the notch is on the right side, the scrollbar becomes practically useless:

Developers have already started investigating ways of adapting their content (controlling the color of those white bars with CSS, for example), but it’s a problem that Apple could have avoided in the first place.

Look at this design, for example; it’s simple and yet, it fixes all of possible notch issues by avoiding the top region altogether:

If iOS rendered all apps (including Safari) that way, developers would be confident that their content can never be blocked by the notch, regardless of the orientation of the device. Aesthetically it looks better too. The internet is already filled with many designs that go in the same direction, and most of them look better than what Apple did.

Apple is using the notch as a brand statement: it makes the iPhone X immediately recognizable from any other phone and it draws attention to the amazing technology that it packs. But I believe they should have let the notch disappear in certain situations, like web browsing.

I doubt that there will be any changes to iOS 11 before the release of the iPhone X; Apple will probably wait to see the reception of the phone before making any drastic changes. But I bet that they will address the notch interference in a future software update. The alternative is an ugly and bumpy road filled with usability and development issues.


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Images via Apple, Thomas Fuchs, Ben Packard, Carlos Gavina

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3 reasons why I’m excited about the new iPhone

Apple will present the new iPhone this Tuesday and, as usual, most of the details have already been leaked.

What seems guaranteed is that we’ll see 3 models being introduced: the iPhone 7s, 7s Plus and a special edition to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone. That special edition has been known until now as iPhone 8, iPhone Edition, or iPhone Pro, but the official name iPhone X has been confirmed (among other details) thanks to the final version of iOS 11 leaking.

These are the top 3 reasons why I’m excited about the iPhone X.

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Using a Surface RT, 5 years later

Right before my last trip to Spain, rumors of a laptop ban in flights from Europe to the U.S. started appearing. I didn’t want to take my Surface Book and risk being forced to throw it inside my luggage on my way back (we all know how airlines treat luggage).

So what options did I have? Either leave my laptop at home, or travel with a device that I could live without, in case it broke after being handled like a sack of potatoes.

That’s when I thought of my old Surface RT, abandoned in a shelf for years. I wasn’t sure it would be “enough of a tablet” for my trip but coincidentally, that same week happened to be the 5th year anniversary of its presentation, so it was perfect timing for a test.

Would I be able to use my email? Write a little bit? Upload pictures to Facebook? Read Twitter? Buy tour tickets and make trip reservations? Would any of the old apps work?


The answer to all of those questions was, surprisingly, yes.

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My experience with the Surface Book and Windows Hello

When Panos Panay announced the Surface Book on October 6, I was immediately intrigued by it: could Microsoft really make a great laptop on its first attempt? The Surface line needed 3 iterations to reach maturity, so would it be different this time?

I preordered the Surface Book knowing that there would be quirks here and there (it’s a first-generation device after all), but I was excited to see if it was a true convertible. Would it feel like a real laptop while typing on the physical keyboard? Would it feel like a real tablet while holding it with one hand and tapping around with the other?

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The #1 thing I’d change from Windows 10

Have you already upgraded to Windows 10? If so, you probably experienced how easy it was: click, download, install, done. Or perhaps you are one of the few people who, like me, run into one of the 16 hexadecimal error codes that you can reportedly get in the process.

I love Windows 10 and I truly believe it’s one of the best editions of Windows ever released. I upgraded my little 8″ Dell Venue 8 Pro and I’m loving it, so I honestly recommend you to get it as soon as you can. However, the upgrade experience wasn’t simple in my case, and that’s why the #1 thing I’d change from Windows is Windows Update.

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Why we will never fall in love with our smartphone’s virtual assistant

After watching Her last night (the Golden Globe winner for the Best Screenplay category) I was captivated by its amazing performances and its delightfully depicted technology. What motivated me the most to watch the movie was this article from Wired: why Her will dominate UI design even more than Minority Report.

In the movie, technology is almost completely transparent for the user: most of the interactions between Theodore, the main character, and his “smartphone” happen through the earpiece and the virtual assistant, and he only touches the little screen when he wants to watch a picture. This is what his gadgets look like:

Visual user interfaces are almost nowhere to be seen, and that’s the message: human interactions are the future of personal computing.

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4 ways I’d change Windows Phone 8

This is a follow-up post to a comparison between the Lumia 920 and the iPhone 5s and you can also find a similar list of opinions about the iPhone 5s and the iOS ecosystem here.

Windows Phone 8 is a great product, there is no doubt; unfortunately, there are several issues that might drive people like me to try other mobile environments. The following list is a compilation of personal opinions about what things I’d change from the Windows Phone 8 ecosystem.

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4 ways I’d change the iPhone 5s

Some of my beloved friends at Microsoft mentioned that the comparison of the Nokia Lumia 920 and the iPhone 5s wasn’t fair because I compared a 2012 device with a 2013 device.

Well, I disagree. The 920 happens to win and loose in exactly the same categories that the Lumia 1020, which is a 2013 device: it’s still bulkier and heavier than the 5s and it still has a much better camera than the 5s.

However, I’ll go a step further and expand the comparison with a list of things I’d change from the iPhone 5s and the iOS ecosystem.

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Nokia Lumia 920 vs iPhone 5s

Three years ago, I switched from an iPhone 3Gs with iOS 4.2 to a Samsung Focus with Windows Phone 7 and I wrote a series of posts about the changes (here’s the translation, powered by Bing: part I, II and III).

Things have changed a lot since 2010: Android has surpassed iOS and is now the market-share king, Google bought Motorola, Blackberry has “disappeared”, Windows Phone has evolved quite a bit and Microsoft is in the middle of the process of buying Nokia’s devices & services business.

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