App developers start to exploit iPhone’s Dynamic Island with Tamagotchi-style virtual animals

Dynamic Island is a feature that debuted on iPhone 14 Pro models only a few days ago, but software developers are already finding new use cases for it, some that Apple doesn’t seem to have thought of either. Christian Selig, who develops the Apollo app, an alternative to the official Reddit app, has created PixelPals, a series of pixelated animals that can “live” on the phone’s “dynamic island”. This is just the first “test” for what could become a real fad among app developers.

Apollo app puts virtual pets on iPhone’s ‘Dynamic Island’

Not many apps are currently compatible with the new Dynamic Island features. For example, the iOS 16 operating system brings music apps like Spotify into that area automatically so you can quickly switch back into the app or quickly change songs with buttons accessible from anywhere, but there are no apps yet that integrate their own control elements there.

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The way the new PixelPals “virtual animals” in the Apollo app work is that they only appear when activated from within the app, and only for as long as you’re active in the app. Once you leave Apollo, the pixel animals disappear. Of course, that’s not to say that in the future there couldn’t be better integration even when Apollo is in the background, with the ability to zoom in on the “island” to interact with the pixelated animal from anywhere.

Dynamic Island clones have already started appearing on other Android smartphone models, so it’s quite possible we’ll see an increase in functionality in this area across the smartphone industry, not just on the iPhone.

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What’s certain is that Apple has identified a new direction in which to develop useful, yet fun, software features after a long period in which the top of the screen was occupied by the famous non-interactive cutout.

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