Apple ordering screens sized at least 4" for next iPhone - WSJ

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple has begun placing orders for a new, larger screen that will measure at least four inches diagonally, according to a new report.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the next iPhone is "expected" to feature a screen larger than the 3.5-inch display that has been found on the iPhone since it first launched in 2007. Production of the screens is reportedly set to begin in the next few months, and it will measure "at least 4 inches diagonally."

Apple is said to be working with a number of screen manufacturers for the larger display on the next iPhone, including LG Display, Sharp, and a new company, Japan Display Inc., that was created last month by three Japanese companies and the government. Wednesday's report made no mention of Samsung as a display partner.

Rumors have suggested for some time that the next iPhone will be a major redesign, overhauling the look of the handset that has remained since the launch of the iPhone 4 in mid-2010. A larger screen would be a major change for the device, and could require developers to update their applications to take advantage of the larger display.

Apple's rumored shift comes as competitors continue to offer smartphones with larger screens. In particular, the Samsung Galaxy S II, which features a 4.8-inch display, is the new flagship device for the company.

Samsung's Galaxy Note also features a massive 5.3-inch stylus-driven display that the company has advertised offers both the best of a smartphone and of a tablet. The device was cited by the company in its quarterly earnings in April as a strong seller.

iPhone 6
Mockup of a sixth-gen iPhone with a taller 4-inch screen, via MacRumors.


As rumors of an iPhone with a larger screen have continued to crop up, various renderings have been put together online by enthusiasts who have speculated that a larger screen would result in a slightly taller iPhone adding more pixels to the top and bottom of the screen. One report from earlier this month claimed the next iPhone will be the same width as the current iPhone 4S, meaning the new screen would have a different aspect ratio than previous generation models.

With a 4-inch display, the iOS home screen could theoretically fit another row of icons on the home screen, bringing the total number to six. Applications written for the iPhone 4S and earlier handsets could simply feature black bars at the top and bottom of the screen, using the same aspect ratio and screen space as it would on the earlier devices.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 84
    sleepy3sleepy3 Posts: 244member


    WELL DUH!!!!!!


     


    The current 3.5" screen is WAAAYYY too tiny, and apple has been shown the way forward by Android manufacturers who are reducing bezels and wasted space on the faces of their phones to give consumers what they want.....bigger screens. 


     


    Its about time the iphone gets a screen that is a more usable size


     


    Interesting situation though, that will now leave developers with the following


    3.5" iphone (still in use)


    3.5" iphone 3g (still in use)


    3.5" iphone 3gs (still on sale and in use, and quite a bargain at 1 cent :)


    3.5" iphone 4 retina a4 (still on sale and in use)


    3.5" iphone 4s retina a5 (still in sale and in use)


    4" iphone 5 retina a5x (if rumours are true)


     


    That is 2 screen sizes, three resolutions, 6 processors, not sure how many diff GPUs, 2 varying RAM capacities (3 if they put a gig in the iphone 5).


    Seems like the work for developers just keeps increasing. Although it is nowhere NEAR as bad as the android situation. Don't wanna use the f word but..........


    For continuity sake Apple may very well ditch the 4" and stay at 3.5. Hope not though.

  • Reply 2 of 84
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    With a 4-inch display, the iOS home screen could theoretically fit another row of icons on the home screen, bringing the total number to six. Applications written for the iPhone 4S and earlier handsets could simply feature black bars at the top and bottom of the screen, using the same aspect ratio and screen space as it would on the earlier devices.

    What a stupid idea. They're not going to release a new format simply to add a row of icons. If Apple releases a 4" phone, they will almost certainly keep the same resolution and screen ratio as the 4S.

    sleepy3 wrote: »
    WELL DUH!!!!!!

    The current 3.5" screen is WAAAYYY too tiny, and apple has been shown the way forward by Android manufacturers who are reducing bezels and wasted space on the faces of their phones to give consumers what they want.....bigger screens. 

    Yeah. That's why no one buys the 3.5" iPhone. /s

    Is it possible that Apple will release a 4" phone? Sure - maybe even likely. But the difference between 3.5" and 4" is insignificant for most people. The physical dimensions of the phone are more important. If they could put an even larger screen into the phone without changing the phone's dimensions, that would be OK with most people (but not likely, of course). Heck, a lot of people wouldn't even notice the difference unless you have the phones right next to each other. The key is to not release a monstrosity like a 5.3" phone with a stylus and which requires two hands.
  • Reply 3 of 84
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,234member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post


     


    Interesting situation though, that will now leave developers with the following


    3.5" iphone (still in use)


    3.5" iphone 3g (still in use)


    3.5" iphone 3gs (still on sale and in use, and quite a bargain at 1 cent :)


    3.5" iphone 4 retina a4 (still on sale and in use)


    3.5" iphone 4s retina a5 (still in sale and in use)


    4" iphone 5 retina a5x (if rumours are true)


     



    I would be surprised if they changed the aspect ratio, if it stayed the same it would be no issue to developers.

  • Reply 4 of 84
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    God I hate these stupid mockups. Does anyone seriously think Jony Ive's shop is going to produce a phone like that? No way Apple changes the aspect ratio.
  • Reply 5 of 84
    macbook promacbook pro Posts: 1,605member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post


    Interesting situation though, that will now leave developers with the following


    3.5" iphone (still in use)


    3.5" iphone 3g (still in use)


    3.5" iphone 3gs (still on sale and in use, and quite a bargain at 1 cent :)


    3.5" iphone 4 retina a4 (still on sale and in use)


    3.5" iphone 4s retina a5 (still in sale and in use)


    4" iphone 6 retina a5x (if rumours are true)



    Fixed that for you.


     


    If the iPhone is WAAAYYY to small then an iPad or a 80" television should be about right.

  • Reply 6 of 84
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,234member


    If a 4" screen were to be true (and I can see this being perfectly possible), then perhaps we will at some point get a smaller iPhone to please the moaners who will undoubtedly say 4" is too large. 3" same aspect? Maybe.

  • Reply 7 of 84
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,234member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    God I hate these stupid mockups. Does anyone seriously think Jony Ive's shop is going to produce a phone like that? No way Apple changes the aspect ratio.


    I agree. That mockup is shite!

  • Reply 8 of 84
    hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 753member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post


    WELL DUH!!!!!!


     


    The current 3.5" screen is WAAAYYY too tiny, and apple has been shown the way forward by Android manufacturers who are reducing bezels and wasted space on the faces of their phones to give consumers what they want.....bigger screens. 


     


    Its about time the iphone gets a screen that is a more usable size


     


    Interesting situation though, that will now leave developers with the following


    3.5" iphone (still in use)


    3.5" iphone 3g (still in use)


    3.5" iphone 3gs (still on sale and in use, and quite a bargain at 1 cent :)


    3.5" iphone 4 retina a4 (still on sale and in use)


    3.5" iphone 4s retina a5 (still in sale and in use)


    4" iphone 5 retina a5x (if rumours are true)


     


    That is 2 screen sizes, three resolutions, 6 processors, not sure how many diff GPUs, 2 varying RAM capacities (3 if they put a gig in the iphone 5).


    Seems like the work for developers just keeps increasing. Although it is nowhere NEAR as bad as the android situation. Don't wanna use the f word but..........


    For continuity sake Apple may very well ditch the 4" and stay at 3.5. Hope not though.



    Actually, you're only looking at 3 different processors on that list (The iPhone and iPhone 3G used identical processors, the 3GS used the same architecture, just a faster clock speed). The A5 and A5x are the same processor, different GPU. You do have 5 different GPU's (iPhone/iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, new iPhone), but that's the beauty of Apple's developer tools. It takes all of this into account when you're writing an app, so you don't have to basically write the app five different times like you would on Android. Write an app for the retina display, the iPhone will automatically downscale it for the non-Retina displays. Very little work compared to the competing platform.


     


    P.S. And really, I know they are out there, but the number of original iPhones and even iPhone 3G's is very insignificant compared to iPhone 4's and 4S's, and even 3GS's, so as a developer, I wouldn't even worry about those devices, because they've long been unsupported and the user base is so small.

  • Reply 9 of 84
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,688member


    I find this, and it's sister rumor, the 7" iPad, just won't die, apparently. The most frequent specious arguments for it are along the lines of:


     


    * everyone else is doing it


    * Apple is losing (some unquantified number of) sales by not doing it


    * the current size is too small|big for purpose x


    * one size isn't right for everyone (whereas some other particular size apparently is right for, again, some unquantified number of people)


     


    None of these are compelling reasons for Apple to produce the rumored sized devices and there are numerous downsides for developers, consumers and Apple to producing devices with larger|smaller|different sized|proportioned screens. By their own testimony, Apple put a lot of effort into determining the optimal size for these devices before they ever released them. It doesn't seem to make any sense that they would just toss that all out the window simply because someone else made a device a different size or because a handful of people clamor for larger|smaller devices, especially given the facts that 3.5" phones and 9.7" tablets are outselling the competition at any other specific size points by very wide margins.

  • Reply 10 of 84
    jimdreamworxjimdreamworx Posts: 1,088member


    If you look at how the software works on the current screen, you can see which way the screen will be bigger.  It will be taller by one row.


    The row that shows up when you double click the home button to get running apps, the row that shows up when notifications arrive and cuts off the top of the screen.


    It's just another 13mm but it will make a difference to those who use the phone.


     


    Also, take a perfectly square image and use it as your wallpaper on the phone.  Note how it is cut off with the time at the top.  13mm would fix this aesthetic.


     


    No need for the phone to get wider.  Just a bit taller.


  • Reply 11 of 84
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,688member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post


    ... P.S. And really, I know they are out there, but the number of original iPhones and even iPhone 3G's is very insignificant compared to iPhone 4's and 4S's, and even 3GS's, so as a developer, I wouldn't even worry about those devices, because they've long been unsupported and the user base is so small.



     


    Not only is the 3GS user base not particularly small, based on the number I see regularly in the wild, but it's incorrect to state that this device is unsupported since it continues to receive regular iOS updates. On the other hand, it doesn't require any significant effort by developers to "support" it, in addition to newer iPhones.

  • Reply 12 of 84


    @sleepy3


     


    Pleeze, pleeze, pleeze leave the designing to Apple.


    Don't you wonder why a touchscreen needs a bezel. This wasn't put in for nothing. When the touch location is the center of the finger it is approximately a circle with a 10mm diameter. This leaves some 3mm to each side of the finger without touch. This is almost exactly the width of the bezel of the iPhone (every single model!). Positioning your finger for tapping and selecting is easy on an iPhone and (much) less so on a lot of other touch phones.


     


    Other phone builders can ape Apple, but I really don't think they give a second thought on essential details like these. Same with the distance from the Home button to the touch panel (3.5mm). If it were any smaller you could tap the screen by accident when aiming for the Home button.


     


    Nothing Apple designs is by accident.

  • Reply 13 of 84
    knightlieknightlie Posts: 282member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post


    That is 2 screen sizes, three resolutions, 6 processors, not sure how many diff GPUs, 2 varying RAM capacities (3 if they put a gig in the iphone 5).


    Seems like the work for developers just keeps increasing. Although it is nowhere NEAR as bad as the android situation. Don't wanna use the f word but..........


    For continuity sake Apple may very well ditch the 4" and stay at 3.5. Hope not though.



     


    You don't seem to know what you are talking about.


     


    - Well-written apps should not be coded to one specific screen size.


    - The processor is completely irrelevant


    - The GPU is completely irrelevant


    - RAM capacity is slightly more of an issue, but again a combination of the OS itself and well-written apps can work around it (you do know ocmputers page memory out to disk, don't you?)


     


    The issues you're complaining about are the ones plaguing Android, not iOS.  An increased screen size may impact a few games and possibly other full-screen apps, but any app developer worth his salary should not be taking any notice of the screen dimensions or aspect ratio.

  • Reply 14 of 84
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,527member
    I believe they can increase the size of the screen area without increasing the size of the iPhone.

    The processing and graphics power of the A5x chip should allow Apple to automatically map the pixel resolution of older iPhones to the new resolution -- similar to how the new iPad maps older iPhone resolutions.

    One of the seldom-mentioned benefits of the new iPad is that the display of apps written for the original and later iPhones look beautiful -- there are no jagged edges, blocky fonts, etc.

    This could mitigate any fragmentation because of screen size and display resolution of a new iPhone.

    Dictated from my new iPad
  • Reply 15 of 84
    applegreenapplegreen Posts: 421member


    I think Apple will decide to go with a bigger screen - 4", or 4.2", or whatever.  But, they will make sure that it fits comfortably in most hands, and is a pleasure to hold.  I think the pixel density will remain the same as the current 3.5" retina display.  Otherwise, they will not be able to call it a retina display.  The current iPhone apps will continue to work in the central part of the display with a black border around the app.  As time goes on, developers will update their apps to take advantage of the full screen (just as they did when the iPad first came out).


     


    The bigger retina display will give users a reason to upgrade.  I have an iPhone 4s.  It is darn near perfect for me.  But, a bigger retina display may make me want to upgrade.

  • Reply 16 of 84
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,234member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    I find this, and it's sister rumor, the 7" iPad, just won't die, apparently. The most frequent specious arguments for it are along the lines of:


     


    * everyone else is doing it


    * Apple is losing (some unquantified number of) sales by not doing it


    * the current size is too small|big for purpose x


    * one size isn't right for everyone (whereas some other particular size apparently is right for, again, some unquantified number of people)


     


    None of these are compelling reasons for Apple to produce the rumored sized devices and there are numerous downsides for developers, consumers and Apple to producing devices with larger|smaller|different sized|proportioned screens. By their own testimony, Apple put a lot of effort into determining the optimal size for these devices before they ever released them. It doesn't seem to make any sense that they would just toss that all out the window simply because someone else made a device a different size or because a handful of people clamor for larger|smaller devices, especially given the facts that 3.5" phones and 9.7" tablets are outselling the competition at any other specific size points by very wide margins.



     


    Personally I would love a slightly larger screen and 4" would be just right (for me) and cause little to no issue with developers. The top part of the phone could have a rear facing (channelled) speaker and shrunk to counteract (to an extent) the larger size screen, and an alternative to the 'home' button 'could' be found to further reduce it's physical impact.


     


    I loved the old size and general design, but I think it's time for a little rethink, which I think is possible without too much disruption.

  • Reply 17 of 84
    shompashompa Posts: 343member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post


    WELL DUH!!!!!!


     


    The current 3.5" screen is WAAAYYY too tiny, and apple has been shown the way forward by Android manufacturers who are reducing bezels and wasted space on the faces of their phones to give consumers what they want.....bigger screens. 


     


    Its about time the iphone gets a screen that is a more usable size


     


    Interesting situation though, that will now leave developers with the following


    3.5" iphone (still in use)


    3.5" iphone 3g (still in use)


    3.5" iphone 3gs (still on sale and in use, and quite a bargain at 1 cent :)


    3.5" iphone 4 retina a4 (still on sale and in use)


    3.5" iphone 4s retina a5 (still in sale and in use)


    4" iphone 5 retina a5x (if rumours are true)


     


    That is 2 screen sizes, three resolutions, 6 processors, not sure how many diff GPUs, 2 varying RAM capacities (3 if they put a gig in the iphone 5).


    Seems like the work for developers just keeps increasing. Although it is nowhere NEAR as bad as the android situation. Don't wanna use the f word but..........


    For continuity sake Apple may very well ditch the 4" and stay at 3.5. Hope not though.


     


    ---


    iOS6 will probably kill of all iOS hardware below A class SoC. That would be great since all apps could be optimized with SIMD. If Apple does not EOL anything below A class, that is another evidence of a post Jobs Apple. Steve was obsessed with creating high "lowest" hardware. 


     


    BTW Don't forget the 7.85 inch iPad. That is another resolution that needs to be supported. Its a mess also for users. I have converted all my videos to iTunes format. Now some videos works on some iOS devices and not on other since Apple have poor scaling hardware. 


     


  • Reply 18 of 84


    This 4" screen thing still seems rather unlikely, but I would like some more screen space if Apple is able to make it work perfectly in all the areas people are concerned about.  One thing is for sure, Apple will only do this if they have found a good solution to all concerns and see value in increasing the screen size.

     

  • Reply 19 of 84
    irelandireland Posts: 17,785member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    God I hate these stupid mockups. Does anyone seriously think Jony Ive's shop is going to produce a phone like that? No way Apple changes the aspect ratio.


    It is certainly uglier, that's not debatable in my opinion, but you never can tell with Apple. Stranger things have happened.

  • Reply 20 of 84
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,688member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post


     


    Personally I would love a slightly larger screen and 4" would be just right (for me) and cause little to no issue with developers. The top part of the phone could have a rear facing (channelled) speaker and shrunk to counteract (to an extent) the larger size screen, and an alternative to the 'home' button 'could' be found to further reduce it's physical impact.


     


    I loved the old size and general design, but I think it's time for a little rethink, which I think is possible without too much disruption.



     


    But, you haven't made a compelling argument why a 4" screen would now be optimal. Your argument is essentially that you are one of an unquantified number who want a bigger screen because... apparently... the "old size" is "old".

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