Concept image: Nikola Cirkovic

Concept image: Nikola Cirkovic

I wrote in an earlier opinion piece that 2014 is the year when I expect Apple to finally give in and opt for a larger iPhone display. Assuming I’m right, the question then becomes: what approach will Apple take?

There are two ways of increasing the size of a display. First, you can keep the resolution the same and simply use larger pixels. That’s what happens when a manufacturer makes a 1080P HD TV in both 40- and 50-inch sizes, for example. Both have 1920×1080 pixel displays, it’s just that the 50-inch display has larger pixels.

That would be by far the simplest approach for Apple to take. Provided it keeps the aspect ratio the same as the iPhone 5/c/s, then it can continue to use an 1136×640 display. All existing apps continue to work as-is, developers don’t have to do any work to support the larger display and everyone is happy . Or are they… 


There is, however, a downside to this approach: the display will get just that little bit less sharp. Next time you’re in a store with a display wall full of TVs, approach one of the smaller ones until you can make out the individual pixels. Now back off just far enough that you can’t. Now look at a larger TV at the same distance. Suddenly the pixels are visible.

This is largely an academic exercise. Once the pixel density hits a certain level, the pixels are no longer visible at any normal viewing distance. I’d say 4.5- to 5-inches is the likely range for a larger iPhone (I’m not entirely convinced by the two-size rumors), so let’s take the example of that 5-inch top-end …

If Apple stretched the current 4-inch display to 5 inches, while retaining the same 1136×640 resolution, the pixel density would decrease from 326ppi to 260ppi. Would this still qualify as a Retina display?

Apple has never defined Retina with specific ppi numbers, saying only that it is a number “high enough that the human eye is unable to discern individual pixels at a typical viewing distance.” For an iPhone, Apple considers a typical viewing distance to be 10 inches.


Now let’s compare with the iPad. The iPad Air has a pixel density of 264ppi – coincidentally, almost identical to our hypothetical iPhone 6 with unchanged resolution. And the iPad, says Apple, is still Retina because the typical viewing distance for the larger device is 15 inches.

Well, I’ve just done a little experimenting with my iPhone and iPad and learned two things. One, I actually hold the two devices at pretty similar distances, of 10-12 inches. Two, at even 10 inches, I can’t really resolve individual pixels on my 264ppi iPad Air. Apple could, as far as I’m concerned, design an iPhone 6 with the same 1136×640 resolution as the iPhone 5, and I’d consider it Retina.

For me, then, an iPhone 6 with identical resolution screen in a 5-inch size would be a feasible option.


Now let’s consider the alternative: increasing the number of pixels in direct proportion to the increase in screen size to retain the same 326ppi pixel density.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume Apple keeps the aspect ratio the same. That would mean an increase in resolution from 1136×640 to 1420×800.

It’s unarguably a Retina display. The marketing people don’t have to fudge their definition of Retina display, and get to boast that ‘the iPhone 6 has the highest resolution display of any iPhone, with 25% more pixels.’ Customers get the same quality display they had in their iPhone 5s or 5c. Everyone is happy.


Except developers. Just as when the resolution changed from the iPhone 4s to the iPhone 5, suddenly they have to support yet another resolution. All that work they had to do then, they now have to do all over again.

Apple may have built the best phone in the world, but its success is at least as much down to the huge number of high-quality apps as the design of the handset itself. Apple knows how important developers are. There was a huge amount of dismay at the switch in resolution when the iPhone 5 was announced – would it really want to put developers through the same pain again with the iPhone 6?

My suspicion is: yes.

First, while a larger screen is easier to view, it doesn’t buy you any more real-estate: you won’t be able to see any more of your emails. A higher resolution, in contrast, lets you see more of your content at a time.

Second, while Apple could fudge its viewing figure distances, and say – probably quite accurately – that a 260ppi phone display is still Retina, it would be a bit of an embarrassment to have to do so.

Third, while Apple has never gotten involved in pointless specs races – witness it sticking with an 8MP camera, for example, while competitors went as high as 41MP – there’s a big difference between leaving a spec unchanged and launching a new model with a poorer spec. A reduction in ppi from 326 to 260 would not go unchallenged.

Fourth, it’s hard to argue that Apple wouldn’t want to cause its developers grief with a resolution switch when it has already done just that once before.

There is a fifth argument: that iOS has for some time been headed in a direction that makes resolution changes less painful than they might be.


In iOS 6, Apple introduced the concept of Auto Layout. Instead of developers having to specify absolute pixel coordinates for objects, they are able to define a location in relative terms. For example, this object should be centred and at least 20 pixels away from neighbouring objects.

Not all developers adopted it. In fact, probably most haven’t, as there’s been no particular reason to so far. A change in resolution would provide that reason, and they’d then have apps that would play nicely with any future resolution changes.


Then there’s iOS 7. A flat user interface becomes much easier to rescale than one that has pixel-level decoration in the form of shadows, glows, textures and so on. Perhaps Apple introduced the flatness of iOS 7 purely for aesthetic reasons, but perhaps not.

It’s also not all gloom-and-doom for developers: a great many apps are effectively just navbars and tableviews, and adapting those would be a simpler task.

So my view is, yes, we should expect to see not just a larger display size in the iPhone 6, but also a new resolution. Let us know your views – especially if you’re a developer – in the comments.

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100 Responses to “Opinion: What approach will Apple take to deliver a larger-screen iPhone 6?”

  1. Matt Bauman says:

    Let’s also not forget the universal “swipe to go back” introduced in iOS 7. This is certainly prepping for a larger screen. Apple can get as many developers to incorporate that into apps prior to a larger screen and you get many users used to using it and then upon introduction of the larger screen it is much easier to swipe to go back than attempting to reach to the top left of the phone (which is where most “back” buttons are located).

  2. Steve Grenier says:

    I want 4x retina. Give me a 2272×1280 resolution iPhone.

    • rahhbriley says:

      Why not just go 4K now and take care of it?

      • I’d be happy. I actually find retina not sharp enough. 4k might be overkill, but if the battery can take it, why not?

      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        An argument could certainly be made that it’s coming sooner or later, so why not just get it done. But shifting 4K pixels places a lot of demands on both the processor and the battery.

      • rahhbriley says:

        Ya I was definitely jesting…but if they could pull it off this soon, hey! I’m sure it’s not in the cards for many years.

      • A screen close to 5”, 16/9 FullHD screen 440 dpi could be a sweet spot. A 1136×640 application would scale nicely. There is really no need to double the resolution with the current 326 ppi display.
        I made the following test: take a screenshot of my iOS7 springboard on my 5S and sent it to my Samsung S4 and opened it in fullscreen. The screen resolution of the S4 is something like 440 ppi. You can’t tell that the texte or icons on the screenshot are scaled up. It seems perfectly sharp.

    • 2272×1280 makes more sense to me as well since I’m a UI designer for a company making iOS apps. It’s so much easier for me to double the resolution of all my artworks, compared to scaling them up 1.3 times or anything other than 2x.
      developers don’t have to do much, designers don’t have to do much, all the current apps would run just fine. (although not truly retina anymore, since the screen is larger) but apps will adapt sooner or later.
      not many people complained when there was black bars on the iPhone 5. and even less complained when apps looked pixelated on iPhone 4.
      this is the perfect approach. samsung is already rumoured to have the S5 launched with an amazing resolution of: 2560×1440! (it’s just a rumour now, but i wouldn’t be surprised)
      remember when the retina iPad came as the highest resolution tablet just to have the title crushed by nexus and samsung a couple months later? it’s gonna be the same with iPhone 6 IMO. Apple makes a high DPI screen and later samsung will crush the numbers.
      if you compare the S5’s rumoured resolution to the current iPhone 5 resolution, you’ll see it has 5.1 times more pixels! I know apple doesn’t like to get into spec wars, but 5.1 times more! people are just gonna want something much better from apple. if apple goes 2272×1280 the difference would be around 1.26 times more pixels. which is acceptable. and normal to be honest.

    • Tallest Skil says:

      Complete and utter nonsense.

  3. if anything to keep current retina ppi (assuming 16:9):

    1136*640 = 4″
    1280*720 = 4.5″
    1440*810 = 5.1″
    1680*945 = 5.9″

    I think the 5.1″ option is the most logical one given it should make enough of a difference while still be usable by humans (some humans, at least). But I still can’t digest the idea of people claiming they gan get “more work done” on a phone and somehow don’t need a significantly bigger screen. the only thing being a bad experience on the iPhone are websites and PDF documents that aren’t optimised for anything smaller than a desktop computer

    • Matt Bauman says:

      Screen size does play a role in “getting more” done, but I’d argue that getting more done has a lot more to do with needed changes to iOS if I am going to get more done on my phone. Give me a file system where I can access all files on the phone (and those stored in dropbox, google drive, etc…), give me a way to attach those files to an e-mail, give me a way to sync exchange contact groups to my phone. I could go on, but increased screen size only does so much–getting more done is much more related to the users ability to get more done through the software.

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Personally, I’m content with a small-screened phone, and like the compact size, as I tend to take my iPad with me everywhere and do all the non-trivial stuff on that. But I do know I’m very much in a minority there.

      • Since I’ve been using my iPad Air lately, I have been finding myself struggling to adjust to the smaller screen of my iPhone 5 it is more noticeable in Safari then other apps,, but I definitely find myself wanting a larger screen on my iiPhone

        I would be a fan of a 5.1 inch screen with double the pixels as long as battery drain wouldn’t be much if an issue. I would be happy with 8 hours of better life in 5.1 inch screen with double the pixel count.

  4. vtcajones says:

    I’m an iOS developer and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them add a new resolution. At WWDC the last two years they have been pushing auto layout and making your apps scalable. I’m guessing it’s for exactly this reason.

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Any sense of how successful Apple has been at pushing auto layout?

      • vtcajones says:

        Heh, well considering I still don’t use it, not very. The ways you use it vary wildly between iOS 5, 6 and 7 so for backwards compatibility it’s still easier to just write the autosizing code yourself (at least for me). But ever since the iPhone 5 i’ve updated all my apps to scale automatically so a new screensize might be a bit of tweaking, but not much.

      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        Interesting, thanks

      • syed ahmed says:

        agree with “vtcajones” being a iOS developer my self i do not use Xcode standard auto layout setup i use spacing and constraints per each device and let that handled by code – since not all apps have tab and nav bars.

      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        It would seem the answer, then, is ‘not very’. :-)

    • Alan Beebe says:

      I’m an iOS developer as well, and I can tell you that customers will 1 star you to death if your app doesn’t take advantage of their new device. Remember when your favorite app looked like garbage on your shiny new retina iphone? Remember when your favorite app looked so bad when you got an iPhone 5. Developers have no choice but to make these changes because the money will dry up if they don’t. The pros will have their apps updated by launch, and everyone else will take a month to catch up.

      Us developers are already well used to working with different screen sizes. A universal app today has to take advantage of a smaller 4,4s and largee 5,5s screen. Also we need to make it look equally as good on a much larger iPad and a bit smaller iPad air.

      As vtcajones said, when iPhone 5 came out, us developers learned a valuable lesson. Build your apps to scale right from the start. You’ll no doubt have to make some minor tweaks to get it right once we find out what the new screen size is, but its really going to be nothing more then a minor tweak here and there.

      • Alan Beebe says:

        And if you hear a developer bitching about having to do all this work, then I can guarantee there app is probably ranked around 900,000th on the App Store with a UI that would still look like garbage on the original iPhone.

      • Jay Leap says:

        “WE developers are/learned…” You wouldn’t say, “Us learned a valuable lesson…” :)

  5. Chris Murphy says:

    You forgot to include another possibility: The iPhone 6 doubles the resolution in each direction again, just like the first Retina display did on the iPhone 4.

    Think a 4.5″ screen that doubles the resolution of the existing 4″ 1136×640 screen to 2272×1280 (still lower then an iPad). This would alleviate the developer headaches/fragmentation just like it did last time, and would put the new flagship phone at a nice 580ppi. As you can see in the article link below, PPIs this high are now within the realm of possibility. Plus, this resolution is still less effective pixels than an iPad. With another generation of performance increases and die shrinks, the power consumption increase of the bigger/higher-rez screen could probably be easily offset – plus there will be significantly more room available for a bigger battery.

  6. sardonick says:

    A new and larger iPhone without enhanced display resolutions will not be purchased by me. The primary reason I switched from Android was the quality of the iPhone display, albeit in a smaller actual screen size. If I lose that quality, I’ve no reason for sticking with iOS. (imho)

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Interesting that’s what prompted your switch.

      • lagax says:

        Same here, I mean I love iOS, but don’t run after every trend apple! The majority of smartphone users have a 4″- Phone and are happy with it. Make an iPad nano, but seriously: galaxy S3, S4 and notes aren’t selling that good. Samsung still makes a lot of money out of small phones. Why? Because most people like’em! 4″ is enough!

      • sardonick says:

        I had a Galaxy Nexus, which I absolutely loved, but every time I used my iPod touch and compared the clarity and richness of the screen, I kept pining for an iPhone. I also kept coming up with all sorts of lemming based excuses for NOT getting one. Until finally I broke. Screen quality is as important to me as function. It’s primary, even above battery life. Each their own I suppose.

  7. I think Apple will definitely increase the resolution in the next iPhone and agree Apple will only do one size, unless they do a plastic version in 4.5 inches which I don’t really see happening. The iPhone 5 and 5S ppi already look weak compared to the completion. I still think it is super sharp and has great color, but some people do care about numbers and makes no sense for apple to increase the screen size, but not increase the resolution so users can use the space. Also I still think Apple will release a 4k iPad Pro in which resolution will change for those apps. The auto layout is probably the way Apple will try to get developers to go for different sized screens.

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Yeah, I’d definitely be surprised to see two new sizes, plastic or not. Given the seemingly limited appeal of the 5c compared to the 5s, I wonder whether the plastic experiment will be abandoned next time around.

      • I think it depends how things go in China, with the carriers there battering out over subsidies. I just don’t see why Apple kept the 4s around it looks like apple is going to keep processors the same across all new versions of iOS devices so maybe they will keep plastic for a cheaper version. I see Them doing away with the plastic though. Why spend all that money for tooling when you can just sell last years model? Plastic does not seem cost effective or that it will broaden Apple’s market share. Not unless the 5c really takes off in China and India.

  8. I would appreciate a new display with a PPI greater than 400 but not larger than 5″. Rewriting the apps is not worth mentioning it. Most apps can be optimized in less than a hour.

    I hope the new iPhone will keep its total size due to comfort.

  9. PMZanetti says:

    It’s fair to note, Ben, that iOS developers have had exactly 2 phones at each iPhone resolution since the beginning, before being met with a change…

    480 x 320
    iPhone 3G
    iPhone 3GS

    960 x 640
    iPhone 4
    iPhone 4S

    1132 x 640
    iPhone 5
    iPhone 5S

    Each time developers had to address their apps for the display of a new iPhone. I don’t think it will be any different with iPhone 6 & 6S. Apple is not just going to enlarge iOS on the iPhone by making larger pixels. How silly.

    It will be a new resolution.

      • Canuk Storm says:

        Yes, it is a good but let’s play devil’s advocate. Right now if you look at the iPad line, you have small iPad at 326ppi, and iPad Air at 264 ppi, both using the same 2048×1536 resolution. Marco Arment wrote two compelling posts regarding a larger-screen iPhone, and how Apple may implement it; (Part 1) (Part 2)

        I wouldn’t put it past Apple to keep using the 1136×640 resolution, and have a 4″ iPhone (326ppi) and a 4.94″ iPhone (264ppi). It’s easier for developers and helps Apple lower costs on screens because they know how to produce those screens in mass quantities.

        Like the article states, the screen on the iPad Air, even at 264ppi is fantastic. I have one. The text is sharp, the colors pop, blacks and whites look really nice. No reason why the screen on a 4.94″ 264ppi iPhone can’t be the same.

      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        I think there is: while those of us here know the numbers don’t matter if the quality is sufficient, there would be a huge amount of fuss made if the PPI number went down.

    • rettun1 says:

      Hehe reading your comment I realized that ‘iPhone 6s’ sounds like ‘iPhone success’! Nice catch tho

    • pichu912 says:

      You missed the original iPhone before the iPhone 3G, also was 480 x 320. To be fair though, the App store did not come out until the iPhone 3G was launched, but the app store was available on the original iPhone in the iPhone OS 2 update.

  10. icrew says:

    For some reason, many news sites seems continually continually concerned about the fact that the iPhone 6 might require a resolution change, and that that could be as problematic as the iPhone 4s to iPhone 5 transition. I just don’t see it. The reason the iPhone 4s to 5 transition was a bunch of work was because it was a change in screen *aspect ratio*, not screen size. If Apple keeps the iPhone 6 at a 16:9 aspect ratio–and I haven’t heard any contradictory rumors–then iPhone 5 apps will continue to run and look just fine. The only difference is that the iPhone5 apps might be ever so slightly fuzzier, but one of the benefits of a retina display is that that would be really very hard to notice. Developers could then slowly start to take advantage of the increased real estate over time, but there’d be much less pressure than there was during the iPhone 4s-to-5 transition.

    Because of that, my prediction is that Apple will likely follow the crowd to a 1080p screen, at either 469ppi (4.7″ screen) or 400ppi (5.5″ screen), or both. (I want the 5.5″ variety, please.)

    • abdulwahab16 says:

      Ur right but we also want 1080p apps

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      I think the fuzziness would be a deal-breaker for most – you can’t scale up like that and not have it look bad. Letterboxing, as per iPhone 4 apps on the iPhone 5, would be more likely, I think.

      • icrew says:

        In general on computer screens, that’s true, but I’m not sure that’s the case with retina-level displays. For example, scaling to a non-native resolution on my rMBP still looks incredibly sharp. Also, from the analog world, putting a laser printout on a copier and enlarging it to 150% doesn’t really result in a painfully fuzzier image.

        Come to think of it, I wonder if it’s possible to simulate this sort of scaling using a rMBP’s screen. It should be. Hmmmm….

  11. abdulwahab16 says:

    Here’s a crazy idea : let apple announce the size of the upcoming iPhone 6 ( only the size of the screen ) in WWDC then launch it three months later so the App Store become ready for the new iPhone when it launch !

    A crazy but cool idea

  12. jo3stuart says:

    New resolutions are coming for iPhone 6. Apple doesn’t believe in trade offs. We can leave that to Samesung and google.

  13. Dan Merfeld says:

    I think the inclusion of Auto Layout is the biggest tell that Apple is going to start offering a variety of screen sizes, and possibly other devices entirely. The Auto Layout features of Xcode have been improved in Xcode 5 (they were an afterthought Xcode 4), so it seems to indicate that Apple wants developers to start thinking about how their screen layouts will hold up when the dimensions change. It’s easy to scale up/down graphics for additional proportionate layouts as well.

  14. As a successful iOS developer, I can say Apple is pressuring us developers to use auto-layout. I have no doubt the iPhone 6 will feature a new resolution.

  15. Drew Page says:

    It seems likely for Apple to do this with the next iPhone. They do still have to compete against other OEMs. I believe that a screen size of 4.7 inches is most likely, with some sort of HD resolution (though probably not all the way up to 1080p).

  16. I have already done my homework, using Auto Layout to adapt my app for a larger screen.
    For my experiment, I added one row and one column of icons to the Springboard.
    That gave a screen resolution of 792 x 1312 with a ratio of 0.6, right between those of the 3.5 and 4 inch screens. The screen size with an unchanged resolution would become about 4.7 inches.

    Developers may find my demo at a useful study

  17. ron837192 says:

    As the display resolution gets higher, I think the effects of scaling become less noticeable. If Apple makes a higher resolution phone with the same aspect ratio, most apps would look very good without any extra work from the developer. Those that wanted to differentiate themselves could add native support for the new resolution. Probably at some point, Apple would stop accepting app submissions that didn’t support the new resolution.

    Either way, I think that a larger iPhone would need to have more pixels. Competing smart phones are already shipping with a crazy number of pixels, and I don’t think that Apple wants to go backwards in terms of resolution.

  18. Chris says:

    I think it would be smart move for Apple to introduce three different size displays (4S, 5S and the presumed bigger screen). It would be smart move for Apple as some consumers like smaller screens while others like bigger screens. Plus, it would expand their product range and help them take a lager chunk of the Android market.

  19. All I’m saying is 1.) If they just enlarge the screen without making a better/increased resolution then I”m finally switching from iOS I’m sincerely getting tired of Apple doing oddball and really bizarre things with their products and specs the last couple of years (especially random and odd screen resolutions that aren’t standard resolutions). 2.) If they again do something weird like make the phone longer and give it an odd aspect ratio to screen size/resolution matchup then I’m switching from iOS. 3.) If they do increase the size, and resolution, but all we have to show for it is a larger wall of stale lifeless brightly colored icons then again I’m switching… Give us a sharper display, a larger display, and way to use that room as an advantage. I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard Phil Schiller say in the iPhone 5 Keynote that ‘And with this larger more beautiful screen we actually managed to cram another row of icons on the screen’. That was a bloody real comment, and not a made up quote… As if somehow it was a technical marvel to utilize space by just lazily throwing another row of icons without thinking about how to use that space for a better desktop experience. I don’t want rows and rows of cluttered icons and folders… I don’t do this on my macbook pro desktop; I don’t want to be forced to deal with it on my phone. Give us a launchpad like in OS X, and let me only put apps and folders on my desktop that I use most often or that I want there. Let me organize the apps anywhere on the screen that I want to, instead of forcing them in a serial 1 by 1 gapless order. Give me a dashboard like in OS X so I can put a note or some type of ‘quick app’ (read widget) to quickly get bits of information without having to digg into the app (and no notification center doesn’t suffice for this). And the best part…. you don’t have to force everyone to use these features… you can employ a classic mode that turns this stuff off so power users like me can get what he needs and people who like the wall of useless icons can have it that way too. 2014 should be the year of choices for Apple…. That is what’s going to cause a boom for Apple in the industry again the likes of which would rival the initial iPhone launch.

    • PMZanetti says:


      I like how you state that its Apple who uses “random and odd screen resolutions”

      Considering sales of these products, I would consider the alternatives to be the ODD resolutions.

      • I don’t quite follow…? When I say random and odd I mean non-standard resolutions. 1024×768, 1280×720, 1080×1920 etc… are all resolution standards and aspect ratio based resolution standards. 1136×640 is a random non-standard resolution. Albeit a resolution chosen because of the way Apple 1.) wanted to keep the width of the phone the same and just make it longer (which is another random and odd choice) and 2.) Because it had some small advantages for developers (which are kind of negated anyway as switching to a standard resolution/aspect ratio scheme would be easier for developers in the long run).

      • rahhbriley says:

        Ya don’t you love how Apple just randomly chooses screen sizes and resolutions? It’s like they give no thought what so ever to maintaining ratios or scalability. Wish I could watch that drunken dart game??

    • This is the dumbest thing I read today.

  20. We are thinking of the iPhone 6 as a bigger iPhone, but think different (sound familiar? ;-): why not a smaller iPad mini just with the name iPhone, instead? In this way we could probably use the same iPad app on the iPhone 6 (simplifying things to developers) and reaching a greater pixel density than on the iPad itself.

  21. dsatitsbest says:

    Nice article! Another interesting theme to speculate about is if Apple is going to change their release circle this year. You don’t have to study economics to guess that it isn’t a very convincing marketing strategy to release their new products all in one chunk at the end of the year…that they had to do it again in 2013 showed, that they had some serious trouble i think.
    Perhaps Q1 and Q2 get more interesting this year. I still get frustrated when I think of 2013…8GB IPod Touch…come on!

  22. i think the right way is to expand screen size with the same 326ppi using autolayout and letterboxing (or zooming) for older apps. I hope they will go with a not too big, pocketable and usable with one hand iPhone, and a bigger iPhablet that will be another product line. So the iPhone 4,5” 720×1280 and the iPhablet 5,4” 864×1536.

  23. Didn’t Apple make a whole advert about the screen size of the 5 and how “your thumb goes from here to here”. By doing so makes me think that at that time they had absolutely no intention to make a bigger screen. What’s made them change their mind? Especially as screen size isn’t the be all and end all of phone sales. There are other advancements Apple could make to sell their new iPhone 6. Battery would be the biggest thing if you asked my opinion. if Apple could make a faster and more beautiful phone and slap a huge 15 hour battery life on such a device I guarantee it would sell like hot cakes. Battery consumption has to be the number 1 thing to moan about. A battery that would last you from 7 in the morning to when you go to bed at 10 with heavy use would become the best selling phone ever. I could almost guarantee it.

    This isn’t saying I wouldn’t want a bigger screen mind. But I’ve been the release date owner of the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 5. Loving with the the blurry apps on my iPhone 4 was fine. But those black bars on my iPhone 5 were horrific. I’ve deleted apps because of this. So if they do make it bigger, they need to keep the same aspect ratio.

    What thoughts are there on them making the phone bigger but reverting to the original aspect ratio?

  24. g04uld says:

    I want the iPhone 6 to have an entirely new design, not the iPhone 4 stretched design that arrived with the iPhone 5, but a new design. I want a bigger screen, am so sick of the tiny screen and big fingers trying to hit small letters on the keyboard, stop dictating I don’t need it and listen to the market.

    • Tallest Skil says:

      >>I want the iPhone 6 to have an entirely new design

      And given that Apple always redesigns the second model in a set, what on Earth makes you think this needs said?

      >>tiny screen and big fingers

      Bloated fingers, more like.

      >> I don’t need it

      Therefore no one should have it? Come off it.

      >> listen to the market.

      You know nothing about Apple.

  25. Paul Kerr says:

    Apple might offer two sizes in the next release of phones: (1) A 5 inch that is a stretched version of the 4 inch, with the same resolution in pixels. This would be a terrific choice for people who are a little older, that think that text controls on the 4 inch models are small and packed very close together. No change for developers to support it. (2) A screen close to 6 inches could use the same pixel map as the iPad mini. Developers would be able to repurpose most of their iPad mini graphics without any effort, and rework the layout for a phone instead of an iPad. The key benefit is that the assets are easy to maintain.

    • Canuk Storm says:

      Regarding your solution #2, what you’re proposing, at least to my understanding, is a smartphone / phablet with a 4:3 aspect ration. I can’t remember if it was last year or the year before, but LG came out with a 4:3 aspect ratio smartphone. Go Google it. It looks horrendous. I say no way to that. Leave the smartphone @ 16:9 aspect ratio and the 8″ to 10″ tablets at 4:3 aspect ratio.

  26. No 5 inch! PLEASE!!! It looks ridiculous and is uncomfortable. 4.3 inch at max!

  27. The 6-inch phone will never happen in the next few years to come. But I’m hoping(fingers crossed) they could deliver a 4.3 or 4.5-inch this year for the next iPhone iteration.

  28. jonp1002014 says:

    If they do, I won’t be buying it. I don’t want a massive phone to play games on like a nerd. Go buy an xbox 1. A 5 minute fruit ninja session on the train etc is all it should be needed for. Then theres people watching movies on their phone. WTF. To get a screen large enough to watch movies comfortably you’re approaching phablet sizes. I want a phone that I can use with one hand and can comfortably fit in my pocket.

    I know this is a bit rude but every time I see someone with a galaxy note or similar I just think they are an idiot. It must be so uncomfortable having something that big in your pocket.

    • “A bit rude”? I think you’re an idiot for judging people on the device they buy. I, for one, have owned more phones than most tech blog reviewers, and I will not buy the next iPhone if they don’t diversify the screen sizes. There needs to be variety for all tastes. Keep the 3.5″, keep the 4″, and introduce a 4.7″ and 5.5″. If I want a giant phone, so be it. But notice I didn’t call you an idiot for liking your ‘tiny’ phone.

  29. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say they’ll keep the same resolution. While it would make some sense to make life difficult for developers, just so that they redesign their app for the bigger size, there are many apps like games, that it would be an unnecessary pain in the butt for no benefit. It’s quite hard to decide what apple will do though.

  30. Jim Phong says:

    Bigger screens can have smaller pixels.. it depends on quality. Higher the dot-pitch , the distance between pixels and the pixel size, higher the cost of the display would be.
    The fact that many tv displays are using low quality big pixels screens just doesn’t mean that that is always the case.

  31. Jim Phong says:

    A 4.5-inch iPhone6 ? Yes. A 4.6-inch or 4.7-inch iPhone6 ? Yes.
    And 5.0-inch up to 6.0-inch iPhone6 ? IT WOULD BE A VERY BAD MISTAKE

  32. thomasskyg says:

    I really hope they won’t stop at 1420×800, it’s seems illogical to me, as it won’t really be futureproof for further enlargements. I’d rather see them bump it up to a 50% (or maybe 75%) increase so if it suddenly gets modern to have 6-7 inch phone (why not, people might as well see that as handy too, for some reason) it’ll be easier to make the transition there, and they won’t have to make a new resolution AGAIN. It is definitely certain that they’ll increase they size at some point again, so why not make sure they won’t have to increase resolultion and have developer difficulties twice?

  33. Jim Phong says:

    What Apple needs to do is releasing an iPhone6 4.5-inch size that is all display on four sides. There is a drawing of the concept on an Apple patent of such a design.
    A little bigger in size but not too much and all display would allow for a lot new types of apps too.

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      The concepts with displays covering the sides seem to me to fail the usability test. I did like the Android phone that had a conventional screen on one side and an e-ink one on the other – but I guess the iWatch will perform the function of the e-ink one.

  34. Malte Hauge says:

    Allow me to think of another solution: The HiDPI in Mac OS X approach. If the aspect ratio is kept the same, but the resolution is high enough, apps could be rendered in, let’s say 2272×1280 and scaled to the resolution of the current (coming) iPhone generation.
    Yeah, yeah, I know this demands a lot from the hardware and all, but as a future solution.

  35. Like I’ve said 100 times before – you can never satisfy a geek – now they’re asking for a 4K 5″ screen… Are you kidding me?? What’s next? lol

  36. 9to5savio says:

    Are there certain resolutions that would be easier for developers to adapt to? That are just multiples of the current resolution?

    • Tallest Skil says:

      720p to 2160p is 1:9 and 1080p to 2160p is 1:4. So moving to 2160p from an existing ecosystem involving both of those resolutions is a piece of cake, which is good news for the television and film industry.

      As for Apple’s stuff? Not a chance. Nothing’s applicable.

  37. David Straub says:

    Android has tens of different resolutions and they’re getting it done, too. So why should this be such a big deal for iOS developers? And don’t be mad at me, I’m not an expert in software. It’s just something I was wondering about for a long time.

    • Because Android was made for that. Apps are developed with the ability to scale to other resolutions and aspec ratios. iOS apps are developed specifically for that size. With Auto-layout Apple is trying to fix that but very few developers have actually implemented it. Now that they are starting to see that Apple will release iPhones and iPads with different resolutions they will probably future-proof their apps so that it won’t be a ton of work next time.

  38. I am surprised that the option of doubling the resolution on the larger phone was not discussed. Apple doubled the rez of the ipads and it was a minor inconvenience to most developers. In doubling the current rez onto a 5″ phone it would would be 520 PPI, which is not totally crazy, and would probably be feasible, if the Fabs could make the screens.

  39. I suspect Apple will split its market here more decisively, sooner or later.

    I foresee the successor of the 5c to be the 5s in plastic and the successor of the 5s to be something in the phablet range, 5-6 inches.

    Between 5c and 5s there isn’t that great a spec difference and the 100USD between them make going for the C a tough call (I love the plastic look+feel but I went for a 5s myself).

    I would bet the two models have the same cameras and storage options, Touch ID and possibly the same processors. The difference would be in size, bling (plastic vs metal) and obviously price.

    In that way they can have a “smaller” iPhone, more “friendly” and pocketable, and a larger phablet for those who crave for slipper-sized phones, without the former feeling they have an under-specced device (much like how Apple put it very nicely between the iPad Air and the new mini).

    Plus, if they market the difference as an (arguably) new model, the developers will be much happier supporting the new resolution.

  40. I have absolutely refused to upgrade my 4S to anything new until Apple relents and produces a larger Galaxy-sized screen. I’m a huge fanboy but WILL jump ship if they can’t muster the courage to disregard their dead founder’s edict on wider screens. I WANT A WIDER SCREEN. The narrow screen is becoming a huge pain.

  41. Ashish Asawa says:

    Well, having flat interface definitely help, but still we use images for many custom design, and one of the thing as a developer I like about apple is how nicely it does in retina and non retina devices, the transition was smooth, just give 2x naming convention for retina images. And then cam iPhone5, there also the transition was smooth as apple educated to developers and designer, that instead of changing UI controls dimensions, make intelligent shift to your design, by showing more content and with this every one was happy, as very few work, and in a matter of day or two your app is iPhone5 ready.
    I am sure the transition is going to be smooth for another different dimension device, as thats the advantage apple has over others, which they don’t want to loose, apps and app development effort. How about the screen resolution of iPad 2 for 4.5 or 4.7 screen iPhone ?

    • iPad has 4:3 aspect ratio, iPhone has gone from 3:2 to 16:9, so there’s no chance they return to a wider aspect ratio. And iPad resolution is designed for a 132/264 ppi so artworks and interface elements are designed to be usable with a 9,7″ to 7,9″ sized screen. Don’t confuse iPads with iPhones, they are two separate products.

  42. driverbenji says:

    I’m not sure which approach apple will take, but, in order for apple to go with more pixels, they would have to have a better battery. I picked up a samsung g4 a few months ago, it had a 5.5-6″ screen, and I have to say that hurkin’ thing is too big and bulky to be a phone for me…bigger is NOT better. Apple won’t likely go “phablet” and cut into Mac Mini sales anyway, but, the point is, any device that has a higher pixel density either has a heavy battery or a shorter battery life. That is a big consideration for apple…it has to be light and maintain long battery life. Also, realize that the iPad Mini screen is made of the same stuff iPhone 3gs and retina same as 5/5s, just larger pieces. Production costs will be a consideration.

    So, I think apple will go with a smaller cut of the screen tech from the current iPad Air, whether that be 4.7 or 5.1 or whatever, right around 5″ in size, as production costs, having the thinnest, lightest, and maintaining longer battery life are more important to apple over having the best specs for those reading this blog. As Ben said, retina is not spec’d out as being a certain ppi, but as having enough ppi that most people can’t discern pixels.

    Having the highest screen resolution is not a goal for Apple, as it is not noticeable to most people, and really is overkill. (those of you reading this, and wanting higher and higher resolution make up only a smaller percentage of the people who buy the products). For me, I want the best hardware to be available in the 4″ size as well as a larger screen, as 4″ is the perfect size phone for me, and I don’t want to be ‘gypt out of having the best because I don’t want the biggest (again, bigger is NOT better).

    OR, Apple will introduce a new retina resolution in a larger iPad and a smaller cut will be in the iPhone 6, perhaps both 440ppi. But, I don’t see this happening, simply because it would have to be too thick & heavy because a bigger, heavier battery will be necessary, and that’s not apple’s forte.

    Personally, I think that iOS devices are going to get more attention/more sales over other devices in the next 1-2 years once iBeacons begins to be implemented and used by the average consumer, and they realize NFC chips aren’t necessary. This people will notice and care about, but, having the highest pixel resolution…not so much.

    • I agree, for this reason i think they will not use a display with huge ppi count, but the same 326ppi expanded to a new size, so 720p 4,5″ or 768p 4,8″. The first thing is more suitable if there will be only one size like now.

  43. Dan Paredes says:

    Thinking about the doubling of pixels, I had disregarded that option, as it could be a hit to the processor and to the battery. BUT, but: we ALREADY have a processor easily able to push that. The iPad Air and mini Retina have it, and it’s the same processor that the iPhone 5s uses.

    Now, about the battery: the iPhone grows, the space for a bigger battery grows, so it shouldn’t be that hard for Apple to make the iPhone 6 have a decent battery life with a newer processor and more refined software and OS.

  44. I got tired of waiting for the rumored 5″ iPhone.
    Soon as the S4 Sam came along – I went for it.
    It’s fine the younger than 40, can without using reader glasses anytime you turn on the phone.

    No so with 50 something –
    I like 5″ a lot as I knew I would.

    App wise – I’d rather it was Apple – Google Play is a nightmare vs the App Store.
    The other thing with Android Apps – the agreement is a mile long – with lines that read –
    “We now have the right to turn on your camera – any damn time we want”
    People load these w/o a thought.

    I really don’t think I ever came across this nonsense the Apples Apps.
    So FB and others – off limits with those rules.