We want to create extraordinary products at Apple. You don't know where one ends and the other begins when products are born from designing hardware and software. The Dynamic Island does this in a way that makes the experience even better.

The Dynamic Island was introduced by Alan Dye, Apple's vice president of human interface. I couldn't wait to try out the new feature that we saw as ethereal music played in the background. I was waiting for Dynamic Island to change the way I use my phone, but it hasn't happened yet.

The Dynamic Island isn’t a feature problem …

Dynamic Island padlock icon on the iPhone 14 Pro.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Dynamic Island isn't the problem. I still think it's very effective. I like the way it changes, and the way it shows the lock screen a padlock when the phone is unlocked. Every time I pick up my phone, I see that it is eye-catching but also informative.

When the timer app splits off into its own bubble, the tap-to-switch feature is useful. Dynamic Island works in a few other Apple apps, including the Phone app and Apple Maps, and it can be animated when you do things like switch on silent mode. In regards to how I use the Dynamic Island and how often I see it, that is all.

It was fine at first because it was a new feature, and of course, it needs to be integrated into Apple's mobile operating system before anything else happens. Live app information can be displayed on the lock screen with complete Live Activities support, which I was happy to have some patience with. Live Activities can use the Dynamic Island on an Apple device. The update came at the beginning of November and hasn't brought a lot of changes.

… It’s an app problem

Pixel Pals app in the iPhone 14 Pro Max's Dynamic Island.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The Dynamic Island isn't supported by any of the apps I use. That is correct. I am not going to list them all, but I will give you a few examples of how they work. It's hardly obscurities.

None of the Live Activities-specific apps have released any new features yet. The feature is ripe for inclusion in my FedEx and DHL apps.

There are apps that work with Dynamic Island. If you search for Dynamic Island in the App Store, you'll get a lot of things. Flighty and Apollo both show flight details on Dynamic Island. There are apps that show live scores on the lock screen if you care about sports, and there are other apps that focus on specific use cases.

For a new and hyped-up feature, the line-up is mediocre and lacks wide variety. Why is this important? The Dynamic Island is one of the top reasons to upgrade to the iPhone 14 Pro over the cheaper iPhone 14. The appeal of the latest phone will plummet if it is only used by system apps.

More money trouble on the horizon

Dynamic Island connecting AirPods Pro to an iPhone 14 Pro.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

I expect more features that use Live Activities to come eventually. It may take some time as Apple's guidelines for developers wanting to use Dynamic Island and Live Activities are fairly restrictive and it will take some creativity to integrate the feature into common apps. There is a question of whether future features will be free to use.

Lock screen navigation is a feature that speaks for itself and uses live activities to operate. Only those who pay for a premium service can get it. The Live Activities feature is not available to people using the apps for free.

It is possible that the live updates add further costs to maintaining and running the app, forcing the developer to only include Live Activities and Dynamic Island-specific features for paying subscribers. Dynamic Island should be considered a premium feature because of its usefulness.

Dynamic Island is destined to remain a niche feature for many if it is hidden. That is a waste of an innovative feature, and the chances of it changing anyone's experience will be greatly reduced. Dynamic Island is at risk of ending up on the same feature scrap pile as the Touch Bar if it doesn't get some good apps soon.

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