The iPhone X notch is brilliant. Three pictures can show you why.

The iPhone X is shipping and people are getting their hands on the latest piece of techno-luxury from those good folks out in Cupertino.

But for the first time I can really remember, people are hitting out at Apple for their choice of industrial design. It’s all about the notch. It’s awkward. It’s terrible. It’s going to negatively impact usability. It’s the decline of Apple as a design force. What the hell was Jonny Ive thinking?

I’m sorry. You’re wrong. The notch is brilliant. Here are three pictures that show you why:

Must be an iPhone , it has the iconic home-button

First is the iPhone we all know. What’s the most iconic feature of an iPhone? The home button. When someone takes an iPhone out of their pocket, we instantly know it’s an iPhone because of this button. By using a phone with an iconic button, people are telling us something about themselves by using it. They want us to know that they’re an iPhone user.

Could be anyphone

Here we have an all screen phone. What’s the most iconic feature of this phone? That’s right, the most iconic feature is that there isn’t one. If someone takes an all screen phone out of their pocket it could be any phone. It could be a Galaxy phone, or a Google phone, or maybe even some cheap and cheerful off-brand phone. If you take an all screen phone out of your pocket you’re saying that you don’t really care about other people knowing what kind of phone you use. However, those aren’t the people who buy iPhones.

Must be an iPhone X, it has the soon-to-be iconic notch

What about the new iPhone X? What’s the most iconic feature of this phone? The notch. If someone takes this phone out of their pocket, you’re going to look at them and say “Oh, you’ve got the new iPhone. What do you think?” And they’re going to reply “I love it”. And this exchange more than anything else is going to reinforce to them that their sexy new phone was $1,000 well spent. Not because it’s a better product, but because you noticed it and recognized it and asked them about it.

Apple aren’t really like other phone brands and they know it. They’re the closest thing technology has to a luxury brand. They understand that in the world they inhabit, design isn’t really about usability at all, it’s about social currency. So, for the same reason that Christian Louboutin put red soles on his shoes, Apple just put a honking great notch at the top of their phone.

It’s brilliant. It’s the best thing Apple have done in years.

Originally published at on November 16, 2017.

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