This is my take on why Apple came out with the horrible notch-and-ears design for the iPhone X. I’ve worked as a product manager in charge of product development for a couple of tech companies and one thing is that you have to keep an eye on your competition when working on the specs of a new product.
With this in mind, Samsung launched the Galaxy S8 earlier this year with an almost edge to edge screen. There are small bezels above and below the screen but it’s a standard, beautiful, functional and square screen that covers almost the entire front of the phone. The Galaxy Note 8 is even nicer.
The Galaxy S8 included new features such as face recognition and even an Iris scanner. The Galaxy S8 also got rid of the physical home button to make room for the larger display and made the home button part of the display itself.
When Apple launched the iPhone 8 later in the year, there wasn’t much difference from the iPhone 7. The case and display layout was exactly the same, which is why all case manufacturers were able to continue selling their iPhone 7 cases to include the iPhone 8. There were no major new features as well that made the iPhone 8 standout against the Galaxy S8 so it wouldn’t get as much press. The iPhone 8 still had the physical home button whereas the Samsung Galaxy S8 had already moved on from that design months earlier.
Keep in mind that product development takes time for these types of products. It can take at a minimum half a year (if you’re lucky) and up to a year or more from design start to shipping product. So, my belief is that Apple realized too late that the Galaxy S8 would have a new design and new features, which is normal, but since they’ve already started development of the iPhone 8, they can’t stop now.
So, in parallel after they already started development of the iPhone 8, they started to design the iPhone X as a crazy, attention grabbing phone with some odd if not horrible features, especially the notch-and-ears screen design. And because they started development later on, it also launched after they launched the iPhone 8.
If, as some say, the iPhone X is their 10 year anniversary iPhone, why even waste money on developing the iPhone 8? Why launch iPhone X a month and a half after launching the iPhone 8 and hurt the overall sales of the iPhone 8?
Because they realized too late that the iPhone 8 wouldn’t be able to compete with the Samsung Galaxy S8 but they still had to go through with it to try to recoup their development costs.
Anyways, the above is my take on why the iPhone X is just crazy out there, in a bad way in my opinion. Apple needed controversy. They needed headlines. They needed people talking about the iPhone, good or bad. It’s all about publicity and Apple knows marketing and the iPhone 8 wasn’t going to cut it.
As of right now, much of the tech articles see the notch design as a horrible design. But, that still won’t be stopping the Apple fans from buying it just because it’s an Apple product.
On another note, I find it funny that so many Apple fans were out there exclaiming to everybody that the new iPhone has a Face ID scanner and stating that no other phone has it. Hate to break your bubble, the Samsung Galaxy S8 had it half a year ago and also has an Iris Scanner. Does the iPhone have that?