Apple CEO hints bigger iPhone screen may come when 'trade-offs' can be avoided

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
When asked about the popularity of smartphones with particularly large displays, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook admitted that some customers may prefer larger screens, but said his company would not ship such a product until the technology for jumbo-sized phone displays improves.

Cook said Apple's main goal in developing the iPhone's screen is to provide the highest quality display for users. That applies to quality, color reproduction, power consumption, longevity, and a multitude of other factors.

iPhone Plus
Mockup of iPhone with 4.94-inch screen, created by Marco Arment.


Competitors that are producing handsets with jumbo-sized displays are sacrificing many of those important factors, Cook argued. He said Apple would never cut corners to release a product with a subpar display, but hinted that the company could reverse course as screen technology improves.

"We would not ship a larger display iPhone while these trade-offs exist," Cook said during his company's quarterly earnings conference call on Tuesday.

Apple did increase the display on its flagship handset last year with the launch of the iPhone 5, adopting a taller ? but not wider ? 4-inch display. All previous generation iPhone models featured a shorter 3.5-inch display.

In unveiling the larger iPhone display, Apple touted that the handset could still easily be operated while being held with one hand. Competing handsets with larger displays make it more difficult for users to reach the corners of the display without two-hand operation, the company said.

Still, smartphones with screen sizes of 5 inches and even greater have found noteworthy success in the growing smartphone space. Leading the way in that market has been Samsung's Galaxy Note series, which includes a stylus.

There have been rumors that Apple is secretly working on a new iPhone model with a larger 5-inch display for launch as soon as this year. However, there has been no concrete evidence that the launch of such a product is impending.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 166
    pedromartinspedromartins Posts: 1,333member


    What?


     


    He said that to make a bigger screen you have to make trade-offs (as evidenced by the very poor and low-end S4 display), so they won't do it.


     


    That's what i heard.

  • Reply 2 of 166
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,483member
    I thought the hesitancy for a larger iPhone display was thumb ergonomics, not screen quality.
  • Reply 3 of 166
    pedromartinspedromartins Posts: 1,333member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post



    I thought the hesitancy for a larger iPhone display was thumb ergonomics, not screen quality.


    Both, and the proof is how those screens are very very poor when compared to the iPhone.

  • Reply 4 of 166


    I don't get it.  Why is it difficult to make good 5" screen phones?

  • Reply 5 of 166
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    applegreen wrote: »
    I don't get it.  Why is it difficult to make good 5" screen phones?

    Who said it was difficult to make a 5" display?
  • Reply 6 of 166


    It's not particularly difficult, but I think it would be an expensive device if Apple approaches it with the "no trade off" attitude like it does with normal iPhones. Apple could make it for cheap, but then the screen quality would be lacking, like the competition, as Tim was saying.

  • Reply 7 of 166
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post

    I don't get it.  Why is it difficult to make good 5" screen phones?


     


    Because people don't want to tie their thumbs to a miniature medieval rack and stretch them every night for a year in advance of purchase.


     



    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

    Who said it was difficult to make a 5" display?


     


    Ah, he didn't say that. He said "phone" and "good".

  • Reply 8 of 166
    briansbrians Posts: 9member
    This is all nonsense. Perfectly good displays exist at sizes much larger than 5 inches. If it were true, one can only assume Tim Cook thinks Retina Macbooks have awful screens. Apple just doesn't want to admit that they goofed when they did not provide developers a way to dynamically size screen layouts. The reason you had such low resolution on the iPad mini was that they only had two tablet resolutions where apps would work. The same problem exists with giving the iPhone a decent screen size. I'm not sure why people put up with this from Apple, none of the other new smart phone/tablet platforms have this problem.
  • Reply 9 of 166


    What was that again about Apple always denying something is worth doing, right before they do it themselves? :)

  • Reply 10 of 166


    The LCD screens in the 'jumbo' HTC phones of today pumping out 1920x1080 at a true 440+ ppi (the One is an insane 468ppi) made in part by the same suppliers as the iPhone screens essentially negates his entire point. Unless he's talking form factor, battery life, or some other screen related piece that's not the screen itself, I'm at a loss. The actual LCD tech is there, today. Samsung's AMOLED panels are still pure saturated trash. 

  • Reply 11 of 166

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by brians View Post



    This is all nonsense. Perfectly good displays exist at sizes much larger than 5 inches. If it were true, one can only assume Tim Cook thinks Retina Macbooks have awful screens. Apple just doesn't want to admit that they goofed when they did not provide developers a way to dynamically size screen layouts. The reason you had such low resolution on the iPad mini was that they only had two tablet resolutions where apps would work. The same problem exists with giving the iPhone a decent screen size. I'm not sure why people put up with this from Apple, none of the other new smart phone/tablet platforms have this problem.


    HTC has a few phones with excellent screens, e.g. HTC Butterfly. HTC is nearing bankruptcy.


     


    And those rMacs have such attractive prices. I don't get it either now.


     


    /s

  • Reply 12 of 166
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    brians wrote: »
    This is all nonsense. Perfectly good displays exist at sizes much larger than 5 inches. If it were true, one can only assume Tim Cook thinks Retina Macbooks have awful screens. Apple just doesn't want to admit that they goofed when they did not provide developers a way to dynamically size screen layouts. The reason you had such low resolution on the iPad mini was that they only had two tablet resolutions where apps would work. The same problem exists with giving the iPhone a decent screen size. I'm not sure why people put up with this from Apple, none of the other new smart phone/tablet platforms have this problem.

    This has nothing to do with what Cook stated.
  • Reply 13 of 166
    pedromartinspedromartins Posts: 1,333member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by brians View Post



    This is all nonsense. Perfectly good displays exist at sizes much larger than 5 inches. If it were true, one can only assume Tim Cook thinks Retina Macbooks have awful screens. Apple just doesn't want to admit that they goofed when they did not provide developers a way to dynamically size screen layouts. The reason you had such low resolution on the iPad mini was that they only had two tablet resolutions where apps would work. The same problem exists with giving the iPhone a decent screen size. I'm not sure why people put up with this from Apple, none of the other new smart phone/tablet platforms have this problem.


    The only good screen on 5 inch phones are the ones used by HTC, and even those lose on some metrics. Also, that's one of the reasons they only manage to sell 5 phones per quarter.


     


    Look at the other displays available.


     


    We were talking about phones. There's no trade offs for the rMBP15", but bigger phones? Oversaturated, pentile, lower brightness levels, etc.


    Very bad displays, overall, when compared to the iphone.

  • Reply 14 of 166
    bregaladbregalad Posts: 816member


    "Still, smartphones with screen sizes of 5 inches and even greater have found noteworthy success in the growing smartphone space. Leading the way in that market has been Samsung's Galaxy Note series, which includes a stylus."


     


    Bull$hit. Leading the way was the Galaxy SIII at 4.8" and now the S4 at 5". The Note series is an interesting niche product compared to the S series.


     


    Cook is full of it when he talks about the poor quality of larger displays. Tim, you take the panel material used in the current phone and cut it into bigger pieces. Same panel, bigger size. It's not rocket science.


     


    The 4.9" mockups are based on something even easier for Apple and all its developers: chop up iPad LCD material into 4.9" panels instead of 9.7" ones. Same pixel count as every other iPhone, but physically larger.


     


    In both cases there's no quality sacrifice because it's the same display technology you're already using!


     


    It's clear to me that Apple badly underestimated the appeal of large smartphones and is struggling to come up with a compelling new product that won't look like a carbon copy of something HTC or Samsung already makes.

  • Reply 15 of 166
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    The LCD screens in the 'jumbo' HTC phones of today pumping out 1920x1080 at a true 440+ ppi (the One is an insane 468ppi) made in part by the same suppliers as the iPhone screens essentially negates his entire point. Unless he's talking form factor, battery life, or some other screen related piece that's not the screen itself, I'm at a loss. The actual LCD tech is there, today. Samsung's AMOLED panels are still pure saturated trash. 

    Of course he's talking about form factor, battery life, and other screen related pieces. Cook didn't say that it's not possible to create a 5" display. They clearly make displays are both smaller and larger.
  • Reply 16 of 166
    jason98jason98 Posts: 761member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    Who said it was difficult to make a 5" display?


    The only trade-off to make is to get rid of the Home button and use 5" of the available space for the screen without even changing the case.
  • Reply 16 of 166


    Perhaps he means terrible battery life on phones with larger displays?


     


    A friend has moved from an iPhone 4S to a Samsung Galaxy SIII. 


     


    Hates it.


     


    Why?


     


    Primarily terrible battery life. Certain aspects of the phone he does not like either but fundamentally it is down to battery life. I think this is what Tim is alluding to. If you go for a bigger size Apple want to provide a top class screen in terms of quality and the downside of that is that it would produce terrible battery life.


     


    Until the technology catches up and Apple can provide a larger phone that brings ALL the quality aspects together, then Apple won't ship one.

  • Reply 18 of 166
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Is the term [I]trade-offs[/I] some regional expression that is unknown to most people? :???:
  • Reply 19 of 166
    lerxtlerxt Posts: 182member
    It's a massive mistake to not increase display size. Apple is being killed in Asia by not having larger screens. EVERYONE is changing to Samsung. I wish the American based execs would come to Hong Kong and walk down the street.
  • Reply 20 of 166
    3.5" display will do just great for me. The phone actually has to fit in my pocket. (I wear tight pants)
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