Gruber predicts exact pixel dimensions for 4.7- and 5.5-inch iPhone displays

“Throughout the entire rumor cycle for this year’s new iPhones, we’ve been inundated with reports of two new screen sizes, 4.7 and 5.5 inches. But while the physical sizes of these displays leaked early and often, the exact pixel dimensions have not,” John Gruber writes for Daring Fireball.

“I’ve spent much of the last month trying to figure out the pixel counts for these displays, and it’s actually quite tricky,” Gruber writes. “But after giving it much thought, and a lot of tinkering in a spreadsheet, here is what I think Apple is going to do: 4.7-inch display: 1334 × 750, 326 PPI @2x; 5.5-inch display: 2208 × 1242, 461 PPI @3x.”

“@2x means the same ‘double’ retina resolution that we’ve seen on all iOS devices with retina displays to date, where each virtual point in the user interface is represented by two physical pixels on the display in each dimension, horizontally and vertical,” Gruber writes. “@3x means a new ‘triple’ retina resolution, where each user interface point is represented by three display pixels. A single @2x point is a 2 × 2 square of 4 pixels; an @3x point is a 3 × 3 square of 9 pixels.”

How Gruber derived these figures and uch more in the full article – recommended – here.


  1. There has been a few of these going around lately. The most convincing one I’ve seen for the 4.7 is 1704×960. I only skinned through the article but it seems he is predicting the home screen layout to stay the same, 4 wide by 5 high icons. Defeats the purpose of IMO

      1. if it stays at 4×5 there’s 2 options. a) make everything an enlarged version of what there is on the 4 inch or b) put bigger gaps between icons.
        Defeats the purpose might have been going a bit far but it will look silly either way and be a waste of space

    1. If you’d have read Gruber’s post rather than ‘skinning’ it, you would have found out his reasoning why the 1704×960 only makes sense if Apple were making a 4″ screen.

      Reading the entire post is well worth your while.

      1. It is an interesting read. His logic is based on the original iPhone “point size” used by Apple in which one pixel equaled one point (at 132 ppi) and a minimum touch feature size was 44×44 points. His reasoning is that Apple maintained the 44×44 point feature size in the retina displays by pixel doubling. When Apple stretched the iPhone display vertically from a 3:2 to a 16:9 format, it simply added vertical pixels, thus maintaining the fundamental display “point” characteristics and scale.

        The same general rationale applies to the iPad, although the scale of the basic touch feature is somewhat larger.

        He concludes by stating that Apple will maintain the fundamental point size interface approach in the larger iPhone displays, but include a modest degree of magnification of the minimum feature (but less than in the iPad) to strike a compromise between being able to view more content and improving visibility of the user interface icons and graphics.

        Gruber acknowledges that 1920×1080 (1080HD) is viable on a 4.7″ iPhone 469 ppi) using pixel tripling. But Gruber states that 1334 × 750, 326 PPI @2x is more likely. My opinion is that Apple will deliver 1080HD or higher pixel count on all medium to large format retina devices starting with the 4.7″ iPhone. But it is certainly possible that Apple might choose the 5.5″ iPhone as the dividing line for providing 1080HD or higher.

  2. I’ve spent much of the last month trying to figure out the pixel counts for these displays…

    Because you’re bored and have too much time on you hands?

    What is the mass inability of analysts to wait for the release, let alone the announcement, of Apple products? Mass impatience? Mass mania? Drug addiction? Or is this a new sporting event: Who can better play THE PROPHET of Apple gear?

    It’s fun to speculate. But guestimating exact pixel dimensions is a little bit obsessive, IMHO of course. Tick tick tick! Counting the seconds until Apple’s next public product announcement. Tick tick tick. Fill in the time with analyst blether. Tick tick tick. IRL is underrated. What new leaks are out of China today. Tick tick tick. What unverifiable facts can I make up to get myself attention today? Tick tick tick…


    1. Why come here if you safe not interested in guessing the future? Do you not watch live sports on TV because the outcome is unknown? I like all the rumor stuff, I like to make guesses myself.

    2. John Gruber is not an analyst. He is more of a technologist, and estimating pixel counts is the sort of thing they do. A change in the iPhone’s dimensions presents a Rubik’s Cube type challenge to guys that like to dig through code and historic behavior for clues. They like to have a stab at the answer before it is revealed so they can have bragging rights if they predict correctly. At least Gruber has documented the methodology by which is prediction was made, which made the article interesting to me.

  3. I found the article and the logic fascinating and informative. It shows what has to be considered when creating a new display. I appreciated learning about the distinction between points and pixels, and that simply moving to 1920 X 1080 is not simple and likely inferior to 1334 X 750 for the 4.7 inch display (more points in the latter). The 5.5 inch at 3X makes sense as well, at 2208 X 1242. I think he nailed it.

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