M1 Pro, M1 Max, the notch and Monterey

I’m sure that you’ve already heard that Apple has launched the next level up from its existing M1 Macs, with a range of MacBook Pros powered by M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. One feature of these new Macs that brought gasps of horror from some quarters is the small ‘notch’ at the top of their display for the built-in camera.

This notch (there, I’ve written the word twice now) is required because the edge around the display is too narrow to accommodate the camera. Just as on many models of iPhone, which brought gasps of horror from the same quarters, the only way to do this is to inset the camera into the display itself.

Much of the time, this notch will sit in the middle of the menu bar, which is normally something of a no man’s land anyway, unless you have so many menu items that they’re starting to invade the other side, and even then there are excellent solutions including Bartender if you need it.

Apple has already released preliminary information for developers to explain how apps which go Full Screen can avoid problems with the notch. This should only affect apps which provide custom full screen features, though: “If your app uses the system’s full-screen experience, you don’t need to account for the safe area in your window. When you call your window’s toggleFullScreen(_:) method to enter full-screen mode, the system automatically positions the window’s contents within the safe area.”

Apple has also added a new item to an app’s Get Info dialog when running on one of these new MacBook Pros. This allows the app to run in a ‘compatibility mode’ which avoids display content being put where the notch is. Apps can prefer to control this themselves, in which case that checkbox won’t appear in the Get Info dialog.

There will I suspect always be a few who are caught out by this. I can’t wait for my M1 Pro to arrive in early November to discover who’s guilty.

Although not mentioned explicitly in the Event, Apple also announced that macOS Monterey version 12.0.1 will be released on 25 October. This looks to be similar to last year with the first batch of M1 Macs: these new MacBook Pros will probably ship with 12.0, which won’t be released more generally, and the first full release of Monterey will be designated 12.0.1.

Sadly, one feature 12.0.1 won’t be offering is Universal Control, which will be included in a future update. I suspect, though, that there will be a Secret Squirrel way to enable a beta-release of Universal Control in 12.0.1 if you do want to try it out sooner.