Will Apple increase display resolution or just use bigger pixels to deliver larger-screen iPhone 6?

“2014 is the year when I expect Apple to finally give in and opt for a larger iPhone display,” Ben Lovejoy writes for 9to5Mac. “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,” Lovejoy writes. “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?”

“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,” Lovejoy writes. “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.”

“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?” Lovejoy writes. “My suspicion is: yes.”

Read more in the full article here.

28 Comments

    1. I do NOT want a larger screen! I like the size of my iPhone; easy to carry in pocket and, more importantly, it’s easily useable with one hand.

      Android manufacturers were forced into larger screens because they couldn’t make iPhone sized devices with a battery that could last the whole day. Now they market those screens as an “advantage” and the clueless buy them (read: are given them 2-for-1).

      If you want a BIG screen buy an iPad and a purse to complement your iPhone.

      1. Two things:
        1. It doesn’t matter why Android made bigger phones. The evidence is clear that a lot of people like them. And a lot of people would LOVE a larger screen iPhone.
        2. Apple has it within their technical power, I think, to concurrently produce more than one size iPhone. I larger iPhone does not preclude the continuation of the current size.

        1. It’s basically extending the iPhone market to those that want the ‘wider’ screens…

          just as Apple released the iPad mini when there was a market for it, Apple will release an iPhone 6 with a wider screen because there is a market for it…. on the other hand, they could keep the iPhone 6 the same size and just release a Phablet like device.

      2. Give me a break, many people want a larger screen and for good reason. If you really think Samsung customers DON’T prefer their larger screens you need to get a grip. I find my iPhone 5 a little too small sometimes. I don’t want a huge screen but there is absolutely room for improvement and leave it to Apple to make the screen bigger and but the “chassis” not as much bigger (thinner or no bezel). You really think iPhone will stay at its current size forever ? No way. Also, the phone itself will get thinner while the surface area increases. That will make it even more comfortable in jeans pocket even it its a bit taller/wider. Just like iPhone 5 is more comfortable in my jeans pocket than my iPhone 4.

      3. I’m glad the company doesn’t make decisions based on what you personally want and leave the other millions upon millions of customers opinions out in the cold. Fact of the matter is you may not want it but millions do. And FYI my iPhone 5 and subsequent 5S battery doesn’t last an entire day. However the Galaxy S4 does and then some. As much as I hate Scamsung, there is an added benefit to increased space; like increased surface area for a battery. Truth of the matter is in terms of battery the iPhone has the least lasting battery of the majority of flagships right now (the exact opposite of iPad… gee I wonder why? because of the increased battery size that comes with increased surface area possibly???). So the iPhone has the smallest display (albeit sharp) and shortest battery life… hey I’m as much of an Apple fan as the next guy but not to the point of being ignorant of reality. I’ve purchased a Mac Pro (plan to get the new one soon too), 4 Mac Mini’s, every iPad (except the Air), every iPhone (and some 2 times over b/c my wife needs one too of course), and 3 MacBook Pro’s during my tenure as an Apple fan so trust me, I love this company. The other truth of the matter is you seem like the type of ‘Apple troll’ that even if Apple made the next phone smaller than it is now and decreased battery life, you would still try your darndest to justify it and somehow come up with why it’s the best and smartest move. Notice how a few sentences ago I called you a troll and not a fan? That’s because real fans take pride in their platform of choice but aren’t afraid to speak up when there are customer needs and/or desires not being met by the current offerings. Real fans, try to help the company succeed and provide even better products by speaking up on possible areas of improvements. Real fans are not yes men in which in their eyes the company can do no wrong. If you’re not a real fan then you’re just a troll and you’re not welcome here. /end rant

      4. I use my iPhone as a GPS from time to time. My iPad Air is too large for this purpose, plus there’s no way to conveniently mount it for that purpose, (though I wish there was). Since I like using my iPhone as a GPS, a little extra screen size would be very welcome. I don’t want Apple to turn it into a phablet, those things are ridiculous, but a form factor of around 4.7 inches would make it easier to see when I’m driving.

        This is just one example of why a slightly larger display would be desirable, I’m sure people can come up with other examples why a slight bump in size is a good thing.

  1. I did not give in and click through. That said, as a the owner of a development company, I’m totally unconcerned about an additional resolution. Why? Because Apple added auto layout in iOS 6 so our UI team specifies the spacial relationship between things on screen rather than specific point locations. That doesn’t help a card game, necessarily, but for a lot of the UI work it’s just fine. After that no one said developing was easy: Your job is to make the user’s experience optimum for the device they’ve chosen, and therefore the screen dimensions available.

  2. Both. A larger size would be welcomed by accessory makers, who could refresh their inventory, the earlier accessory makers gaining the most significant advantage promotionally, when there will still be few challengers in that new landscape.

  3. As with the past 3 – 4 years, 2014 is going to be the year that Apple will DEFINITELY finally deliver:

    A television set
    A wrist watch
    A phablet (i.e. large-screen iPhone)

    All these are more-or-less equally likely to happen.

  4. He’s ignoring a very interesting option: double the resolution again! I’m talking about Super Retina display, baby.

    All apps would work without any extra developer effort, with text and vector graphics automatically becoming Super Retina. To make full use of new display, developers can add 4x retina images to their apps, along with the 2x retina images and regular images they already include.

    Super Retina takes more CPU and GPU power in general, with one critical exception – no need for anti-aliasing. Disabling anti-aliasing will save a tremendous amount of computing power, and the resolution is high enough that this can be done without any visible change in graphics quality. This can offset the extra power required for high resolution bitmaps and maybe even increase animation frame rates.

    1. Hmm. I don’t think that luxury has quite come of age. It certainly would be convenient to have one high resolution standard across devices. This would allow non-scalable aspects of applications to simply work.

      However:
      1) Overkill on the resolution will not be visible to the customers. We have a point where we can’t resolve any more pixels, so why bother. I’ve made this point about 4K TVs in ordinary homes. They’re pointless extra pixels for hyper prices.
      2) Battery life remains a TOP priority. Having a little device burning CPU cycles to maintain the display resolution of an ‘iPad Pro’ makes no sense at all. The small devices has the most limited space for the battery. Efficiency demands that you also scale down the resolution.

      If we had battery technology that was so advanced that they ran all day on one charge, no matter how small the device, I’d say that’s a great point to consider Super Retina. Until then, it’s going to be a balancing act with the accompanying compromises.

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