A week on Dynamic Island: 7 days with the iPhone 14 Pro Max
It’s been a week now since I shared my hands-on first impressions of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, where I unboxed this year’s new iPhone on launch day and started my trip to Dynamic Island — Apple’s name for the TrueDepth camera system, which now blends and adapts in real-time to show alerts, notifications, and activities, using the pill-shaped cut-out at the top of the device’s display.
After a week of using the iPhone 14 Pro Max as my daily driver, here’s how I’ve found the experience so far.
As I mentioned in my first impressions post, the second you look at the iPhone 14 Pro from the front, the new Dynamic Island catches your eye with its floating design rather than the fixed, protruding “notch” that we are all familiar with on the iPhone X and upwards. The Dynamic Island blends into the software, giving the black pill-shaped space at the top of the display a purpose, other than to house the TrueDepth camera system.
When connecting AirPods to the iPhone 14 Pro, the Dynamic Island will morph from its fixed state and show that the earbuds have been connected, when on a FaceTime Audio call, the Dynamic Island will change its appearance to represent a call UI, and when setting a timer, the Dynamic Island will again change its appearance to show different information on-screen.
Apple has always touted the importance of building hardware and software together, and the result of that philosophy shows with the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
I love how fluid the animations are when the Dynamic Island morphs into showing different information. As one of the main new features of this year’s new “Pro” series, I wouldn’t say the Dynamic Island is necessarily a feature I could never live without, but I do see it becoming like that eventually as time goes on.
As someone upgrading from the iPhone 13 Pro Max, I wasn’t expecting to notice a massive leap in performance going from the A15 Bionic chip to the A16 Bionic chip, however, surprisingly I have. Tasks like downloading apps seem quicker, and I feel the phone is overall more responsive and snappier, which is always welcomed when your phone is the device you use the most everyday.
The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max feature a new Always-On display for the first time ever on iPhone, enabled by a new 1Hz refresh rate and multiple power-efficient technologies. Essentially, the iPhone Lock Screen never turns off, with the device dimming the display to always show the time, notifications and Lock Screen widgets.
Again, as I mentioned in my first impressions post, I can understand what other reviewers have said about the new always-on display being a tad too bright. Maybe it will become normal as time goes on, but for now I keep seeing the Always-On display and thinking my phone has brightened to show a new notification, when really it hasn’t.
I don’t know if it’s the Always-On display, haptic keyboard, iOS 16 or a bit of all three, but I've definitely noticed a decrease in battery life since using the iPhone 14 Pro Max compared to the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
— Tom Sykes (@TomSykes) September 21, 2022
On the topic of the new Always-On display, I have definitely noticed a decrease in battery life in the short time I’ve been using the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Undoubtedly the Always-On display will partly be responsible for that, but I have a suspicion we will see Apple release new software updates in the future to further optimize battery performance, as I’m not alone in noticing a weaker battery life compared to the iPhone 13 Pro Max and can’t help but think the recently released iOS 16 update could be to blame.
Overall my experience on Dynamic Island is positive so far! I’m yet to put the 48MP Main camera through its paces properly, but I intend to do that soon.
I look forward to further testing the iPhone 14 Pro Max and delving deeper into all that the device has to offer.
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