The iPhone X’s notch is ugly, but it’s a great marketing tool

When it became clear that the iPhone X’s ‘bezel-less’ design would include a huge cutout at the top, people were… divided. “Steve Jobs” would have never allowed this to happen, some Apple fans decried, while others said it’s fair compromise compared to the chunkier bottom bezels on other phones.

But regardless of where you stand on the notch debate, one thing is becoming increasingly clear to me: it’s a great marketing tool. For better or worse, the notch makes the iPhone X instantly recognizable in a sea of ever-more-common “bezel-less” phones.

Nerdy as I am, I’m often curious about the devices the people around me are using – and New York City’s subway provides the perfect venue for random samples. I mean, it’s not like I’m staring at what people are doing on their phones, but when you test new phones every few weeks, you sometimes lose track of what everyday people are actually using.

Surprise: I’ve seen a ton of iPhone Xs in the past few weeks.

But it’s not just that I see people using iPhone Xs, it’s that I immediately know they are using iPhone Xs. That’s all because of the notch; It’s the one the thing that keeps the iPhone X from looking like any other glass and metal brick out there.

After all, many, if not most people put their phone in a case, so the only thing you can usually see is the screen. Smartphones already suffered from looking too similar to one another, and the ever increasing screen to body ratio gives designers even less room to play with. There are only so many ways you can design a screen on a rectangle, and the notch is one of few screens with any real visual flair.

Three separate components in the iPhone X's notch make Face ID possible