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3 Quick Lessons from the New iPhone Dynamic Island

October 17, 2022
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If you follow iPhone releases, you may have seen that the new iPhone 14 Pro has a new feature called Dynamic Island. Dynamic Island is a way to display notifications that create an edge-to-edge screen illusion. 

Dynamic Island is born from a desire to have a full-screen phone with very slim borders. The problem is that there are sensors like a front-facing camera and Face ID array that still need to operate. To create a full-screen-like experience but still have the sensors, Apple made Dynamic Island. 

Here are three lessons we can learn from this release:  

  1. Limitations can be problems or features.
  2. A feature that is born from a limitation can be genuinely valuable. 
  3. Marketing still matters. Using creative language and authentic excitement still helps sell products.

Limitations can be problems or features.

It is clear Apple had its goal: minimize the notch for the front-facing sensor array on the new iPhone. But there was a big problem, users have come to rely on the front-facing sensors, and other forms of hiding them interrupt their use. Instead of just leaving this static island interrupting the middle of the screen, they decided to rethink how it could be helpful. The result was an area that changes based on what is happening on the screen. It creates a more immersive experience that feels utterly full-screen while preserving the function of the sensors and notifications in the user experience. 

Apple could have simply said, “a little black bar in the middle of the screen is just how it has to be,” but they chose to turn it into a new way of presenting the information the user wants and needs. The result is that a limitation became a feature worth talking about – instead of a problem to complain about. 

A feature that is born from a limitation can be genuinely valuable. 

If you haven’t had a chance to use the Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro, pop into the next Apple store you pass and try one out. It is genuinely an addition to the user experience. I wanted to be cynical about it and chalk it up to meaningless marketing, but after trying it, I changed my mind. It brings notifications, feedback about features, and interaction to where the user’s eyes naturally look. 

A feature that solves a problem thanks to a limitation doesn’t have to be a pure gimmick or afterthought; it can be genuinely valuable. 

Marketing still matters. Using creative language and authentic excitement still helps sell products.

Merely turning a limitation into a feature is not the end of the story, though; here is where Apple excels – love it or hate it. Generating a creative name and marketing message around Dynamic Island transforms this product design from a base hit to a home run. 

Apple created a name for the concept, which makes it easy to remember, share, and talk about. Without this, users, fans, and critics would be left attempting to describe the functionality. Instead, they make it easy to talk about and communicate. Additionally, they couple that with authentic excitement about the feature. The team is proud of the solution, and it shows. 

Creating a name for the feature and communicating enthusiasm for it helps to sell the iPhone 14 Pro. It turns a limiting factor into a primary feature, and more people feel the desire to buy.

Takeaways:
Apple’s Dynamic Island is a blueprint for how to turn a limitation into a feature and actively sell it: If you run into hurdles in your product or service, re-imagine the problem until it becomes a feature. Make it valuable to your customer and follow it with creative marketing.  

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