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With the iPhone X, Apple needs to hop on the Always-On Display bandwagon

by Brandon Russell | October 26, 2017October 26, 2017 11:30 am PDT

With the iPhone X, Apple is adopting a lot of fan-favorite technology, in some instances for the very first time. The device will feature wireless charging (like the iPhone 8) and an edge-to-edge OLED display, the latter of which is primed to define the company’s new flagship device.

While there’s a lot of features we’d love to see Apple introduce, there’s one in particular that’s become a staple in the Android community: Always-on display functionality. The feature is available in everything from the Galaxy S8 to the Google Pixel 2 XL, and it’s one of the most convenient ideas ever introduced.

I wrote about the growing popularity of the always-on display early last year.

“This new feature, introduced in the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge and LG G5, is designed to make your screen “breathe” to life depending on the scenario,” I explained. “It doesn’t sound like a huge deal—we’ve been living without it for years. But, trust me, the convenience makes a world of difference. It may be a one-trick pony, but once you use it, you’ll never look back.”

In a device like the Galaxy S8, the always-on display offers a trove of useful information, from the time and date to notifications. The feature is setup in a way that allows users to see info at a glance—you don’t have to constantly turn your phone’s screen on just to see if you have a message or email.

And Samsung makes the feature completely customizable, giving users the option to see the information they crave. It’s one of those things that makes a big difference during day-to-day life, even if it’s not crucial for getting things done.

In another example, while using the Pixel 2 for our review, I can’t tell you how useful Android’s always-on display feature was. While reading a book, I could look down at the device and see exactly what time it was, no tapping the display or picking the phone up. It’s all completely frictionless and hands-free. I know it sounds simple, but that’s when this kind of technology is at its best.

Now that Apple has shifted to using OLED technology, the iPhone X is the perfect platform for the company to introduce a similar idea. At the very least, it would be helpful for the iPhone X to show the time and date when the device isn’t in use. Apple doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel here.

Not only will it be a useful feature, but it could potentially extend the iPhone X’s battery life. Rather than waking your phone just to see the time, it’ll always be there on your display. That’ll cut down on how often you touch and prod your phone throughout the day.

Apple has already toyed with similar ideas in the Apple Watch—Nightstand mode shows the time and other information when the wearable is charging—so it’s not like it’s a foreign concept to Apple engineers. There are many opportunities worth exploring, but there’s no indication Apple is taking them into consideration.

Something could always arrive with the introduction of iOS 12, but that’s several months from now. For now, Apple fans will have to make due with raise to wake and tap to wake.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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