This story is part ofCNET’s collection of news, tips, and advice on Apple’s most popular products.
““It is the most Apple name out of all the Apple names. The feature, part of the future Announced in Apple’s latest release Perhaps the most surprising feature of Apple’s next phone: the tiny black oval front-facing camera clip has become the unlikely home of an animated series of new notifications that will pop up, and where you’d normally pose for selfies.
I looked at the feature while visiting Apple Park in Cupertino this week, and it felt strange but familiar. I couldn’t tell exactly where it came from, at first. Then, suddenly, it started. And it made me think.
I thought of AR.
It’s been long overdue for AppleHe didn’t appear at the “Far Out” event, to no surprise. But as questions inevitably grow about when this headset could debut, questions about how this headphone operating system came to be should be consistent with Apple’s current suite of products and software.
Is Apple’s next new interface feature, which appears to combine notifications and widgets into an animated mix, the future of phones? Or is it, perhaps, the future of Apple’s communication language as the company moves beyond flat screens into the world of virtual and augmented reality?
Dynamic Island makes more sense the more you think about it.
I usedOver the past few years, and I’ve been used to seeing a number of notifications pop up in VR. I get text messages, Slacks from my phone and call that friends are online. I see messages appear, and sometimes I can click and interact with them. Sometimes I can’t.
The future of augmented reality glasses and headsets, according to companies like Meta, is about providing fast and interactive services. Pop bubbles, in a sense. Smart and dynamic notifications. No one has really named this type of interface language for AR yet, given that there are very few AR headsets out there today, and those that aren’t as closely related to the vast mobile ecosystems as phones. Getting something more than notifications will help, but is less annoying than standard apps and tools. Something that can start small and suddenly become big.
Is this the dynamic island?
I watched a small phone icon emerge into a music interface instrument. Or an icon showing the AirPods connection. On a phone, these kinds of features can be fun and useful, but how different are many of them from the lock screen interfaces and widgets already on iPhones?
On an AR headset that takes us from our phones screens to a larger, fully immersive screen, however, an interface like Dynamic Island can be a way to see when other things are happening. It can also help us navigate to tasks without opening apps or having to invoke small widgets. Notifications will occur and then fade away.
I speculate of course. But Apple is expected to announce its AR-VR headset early next year, and it’s possible that Apple’s current line of products will be there when this headset arrives. Will Apple have a common design language in its future immersive technology? If so, how will it flow?
It makes me wonder more than ever if something as small as Dynamic Island is the beginning of something bigger. Probably not, but I see a great little interface that could have a more immersive, cross-device ambient future like the one Apple needs to create for its future headphones. A dynamic island can be as good a place to start as any.