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If the Mac gets a Dynamic Island, I’m not sure I want it

The Dynamic Island was one of the standout features at Apple’s iPhone 14 launch event in September, and it contained just enough classic Apple magic to wow audiences tuning in. But it left us wondering — how would it look on a Mac?

Now, we have an answer thanks to Reddit user DavidGamingHDR, who posted a mocked-up render of the Dynamic Island adorning a MacBook Pro to the r/Mac sub-reddit. And now that we’ve seen it, we’re intrigued — and a little concerned.

A mockup of a MacBook Pro with an iPhone-style Dynamic Island replacing the menu bar at the top of the screen.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Like the iPhone version, DavidGamingHDR’s image depicts a black bar at the top of the screen that houses a number of system settings and app options. Gone is the MacBook’s notch and the familiar MacOS menu bar.

In the example, a user has Discord open, with the Mac’s Dynamic Island showing the usual Discord menu bar items — Discord, Edit, View, Window, and Help — on the left-hand side. On the right, you can see a variety of system icons, including Wi-Fi status, battery percentage, the time, and more.

Is this a good idea?

A close up of the 2021 MacBook Pro showing its display notch.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

However, the mockup raises a number of questions. As several users pointed out in the comments, the design might not be particularly usable. The good thing about the current Mac menu bar is it rests right at the top of the screen. If you want to click a menu bar item, you can just fling your mouse into the corners and the edges of the screen to stop the mouse from going too far.

The upshot is you don’t need to be too accurate. With this Dynamic Island mockup, all the buttons are slightly away from the screen edges. That means you need to be more precise when moving the mouse pointer, resulting in longer interaction times and, if you’re as impatient as I am, more frustration.

There are other questions — how dynamic would this Dynamic Island be? If it frequently changes size like the iPhone version, that might mess with your muscle memory, as buttons are no longer where you expect them to be.

That all might go to show why Apple has not implemented the Dynamic Island on the Mac yet — and why it might never attempt it. Would the design obsessives at Apple be happy with something that looks cool but is irritating to use? I doubt it. (Then again, the Magic Mouse 2 still charges upside down, so who knows?)

Still, it’s fun to imagine how a brilliant feature on iOS might play out in MacOS. Just don’t expect to see it any time soon.

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