Cast your eyes on this promotional image for the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. They look lovely, don't they? If you haven't been keeping abreast of iPhone news, you would be forgiven for thinking these phones boast full-screen, bezel-free displays.
In reality, both models come equipped with an obtrusive notch. This can only mean one of two things: either Apple is ashamed of the notch, or it is deliberately trying to mislead consumers.
For those who missed all the hoopla, the notch has been almost universally derided as a lazy and ham-fisted solution to the 'edge-to-edge' screen dilemma. In short, it allows manufacturers to remove the phone's upper bezel by cutting a camera-containing 'notch' out of the display. The trade-off is that you now have an ugly black oblong obscuring part of your phone's screen.
The image above was created by Apple for last week's iPhone XS launch. It appears on the official iPhone XS product page and has been replicated across hundreds of websites, magazines and blogs (including our own.)
There are several other promotional images on Apple's website that show the same bezel-free design from multiple angles. Here's another example:
...And here's what the iPhone XS notch actually looks like:
Apple would doubtlessly rationalise that the notch is still present in its promotional images. The fact that you can't see it with the naked eye is entirely coincidental. (Yeah, right.)
We'd argue this borders on false advertising. Apple's choice of an all-black wallpaper - the same colour as the notch - cannot be accidental. Rather, it deliberately obscures one of the most controversial and polarising design choices of the original iPhone X.
When Essential debuted the first-ever notched display on the PH-1, it was a bold, divisive statement about smartphone design. Then Apple put one on the iPhone X and while some people still didn't get it, the sentiment around the notch shifted from confusion to curious appreciation. Until now.
To be fair, Apple does show the notch further down the iPhone XS' product page. However, you need to scroll down several screens to see it. Meanwhile, the 'Buy Now' button is right up top.
To make matters worse, at no point during the purchasing process does Apple show you the notch:
When you look at the above images, it's not difficult to imagine someone being fooled into thinking this device is completely notch-free. And while it's easy to blame buyer stupidity for this misunderstanding, the onus shouldn't be on us to find accurate images of a product. It should be front and centre on the product page!
If you think Apple needs to do better, you know what to do. Head to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and lodge a complaint.