We Need To Talk About Apple's iPhone XS Ads

iPhone XS (Screenshot: David Murphy)

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:

Image: Gizmodo

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.

Why We're Sick Of 'Notched' Phones

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.

Read more

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:

Image: Apple

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.


Comments

    '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!'

    Agreed. I too noticed this nonsense during the Event and on Apple's website while pricing the phone.

    Head direct to the ACCC is a bit irresponsible. Even at the link you provided, Step 1 is to "Contact the seller or service provider". It's just as bad as telling people to go straight to the TIO before registering a complaint with their ISP/Telco and giving them the opportunity to resolve things first.

    That said, I agree that it's fairly unlikely they would change their marketing images, considering they are most likely done centrally and the same images are used worldwide.

      Nah, it should go straight to the ACCC. Contacting the seller first is definitely worthwhile for cases where you have a personal dispute with the seller, but false advertising on this scale isn't going to be worked out this way, it requires the ACCC's involvement. Even if Apple chose to pull the images in response to complaints it would still warrent ACCC action

    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.

    Hahahahaha! Apple will be shaking in their boots.

    Thanks Chris, I needed a laugh this morning.

      Hitting their hip pocket is the one place where they will actually care.

        Complain away. The ACCC have more chance of winning a case against Britain for leaving the EU.

        Apple did not say there isn't a notch - they just showed a picture of the phone that conveniently made it hard to see but it's not like blackness (I won't call it a colour because I'll get flamed) doesn't exist. It's a simple case of caveat emptor...

    I wish the notch fad would die already. It's horrible design and ugly as hell. An otherwise great phone ruined by the notch.

      I didn't really care one way or the other for the notch.
      Now I look at it not as a notch, but as added notification ears on a normal screen. Makes lots of sense and my "notched" Android handles it very well, there's no apps that are displayed incorrectly due to the ears.
      That said, Apple's marketing images are dodgy.

    I have wonder what sort of simpleton would come up with this sort of argument.

    Its obviously a PR shot.

      A PR shot intentionally hiding the notch. The Iphone X announcement and PR images all clearly showed the notch. Yet these ones do not.

      You'd have to be a blind fanboy or a simpleton to think otherwise... Oh wait.

    Definitely misleading advertising. If you bought a tv online with that photo and it came with a big notch in it you'd send it straight back.

    Another article pointed out that the cheaper phone they're releasing clearly shows the notch. People probably will assume that the more expensive ones have a better design that doesn't need a notch (e.g. Samsung Galaxy range)

    If you are simply basing your $1000 buying decision on a website image, you have more money than sense. While the choice of image is clever to place black in the area around the notch, nowhere does it say the notch is gone. I don't see it as misleading rather that Apple is not drawing attention to this design aspect.

    Steve Jobs would never have let either the front camera notch or the rear camera protrude like they've done. Rolling in his grave. The only acceptable compromise would be the "water droplet" style notch some of the newer androids have gone with.

    "We Need To Talk About Apple's iPhone XS Ads"
    No we don't. They're ads.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now