Explain like I'm 5 - Why can't we have iPhones with multiple screen sizes again?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by iFanboy, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. iFanboy Guest

    I mean, Apple make 11" 13" and 15" laptops without problems?

    Why can't we have 3.5" 4" and 4.8" iPhone's to choose from for example?

    I played with a SGSIII yesterday and loved the screen size, but I don't want an Android, I want an iPhone :(
  2. MattMJB0188 macrumors 68000

    Dec 28, 2009
  3. JerseyDoug macrumors regular

    May 10, 2012
    Well, if the new iPhone has a 4" screen, the you will have multiple screen sizes since the 4s will stillbe available. How's that? :)

    Or, because Apple says you can't.
  4. TSX macrumors 68030


    Oct 1, 2008
    Because they want the user to be able to use the iPhone with one hand, this has been known since last year when everyone was upset the 4s didn't get a Bigger screen. This is why the iPhone screen got longer but not wider.
  5. lazard macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2012
    because Apple said you have girly hands.
  6. sammich macrumors 601


    Sep 26, 2006
    Less screens = easier support for developers and Apple.

    Less fragmentation = developers can easily tailor make apps for each Apple device.

    I'm just gonna slip this in here: I just bought a Samsung Smart TV, and honestly, the interface is so laggy. Things don't happen when you expect it to, and without any feedback. It has a heap of features, but so many of them are half assed.
  7. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    OS X is a full-fledged operating system. It also supports desktops with 27 and 21-inch monitors.

    Phones and tablets are a much more stripped down version, and of course they support 3.5 inch, 4, 10 inch and (probably) iPad mini size.

    So it is a bit harder to support multiple screen sizes, but as everyone else has said, the bottom line is they don't believe it suits their business model to have multiple size new phone models, just like it no longer suits them to sell 17-inch laptops.
  8. orangebluedevil macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2010
    Because staying at one screen size allows Apple to make very very large quantities of very very high quality materials. Usually high quality materials cost too much, but when you buy a whole bunch of them you get a discount.

    So Apple picks 1 size in order to make more quantity of more quality.

    If you were a 10 year old you could google Supply Chain management. :)
  9. NathanA macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2008
    Most of these responses are missing the point. The reason why Apple has shied away from multiple screen sizes is that unlike with OS X which has allowed for windowed applications since day 1, iOS only allows for full-screen apps.

    In OS X, developers have been required to write their apps with the expectation that their app's windows will be resized by the user or be used on a plethora of different screens with different sizes and resolutions, whereas in iOS, no such expectation has ever been set for the developer. Thus, iOS apps are written by developers with the *expectation* that the screen size *will never change*: iPhone apps will always fill a screen of 320x480 points, and iPad apps will always fill a screen of 768x1024 points. If Apple had planned from day 1 to have multiple sizes of a device within a given class, they could have structured the API to allow app developers to account for multiple different sizes of screen from the beginning instead of tacking it on later, and apps written since the beginning of time would then presumably already work with a larger-sized iPhone or iPad or whatever. But they didn't do this, so now they are kind of stuck.

    Sure, Apple could still introduce a screen of a different size (and it is looking like they may very well do that with "the new iPhone") and then expect developers to get on the ball with updating their apps so that they can run on multiple screen sizes. But part of the issue is backwards-compatibility: existing apps will not know what to do with the bigger screen, and a solution has to be found for that. Perhaps existing apps will simply have "black bars" on the top and bottom or on the sides, kind of like a widescreen movie presented on a non-widescreen television.

    Apple did this for iPhone apps that run on the iPad, but I think most people agree that the results were largely unsatisfactory.

    -- Nathan
  10. VulchR macrumors 68020


    Jun 8, 2009
    @OP: Well grasshopper, apparently iPhone app developers are sooo stupid and sooo lazy that that can't handle coding for multiple screen sizes. :rolleyes: Honesty, isn't computer science 101 to never assume a given screen size? (I program fro Mac's and PC's, but not iPhones, so maybe there is something I am missing here. Does the iPhone only support bitmaps?)
  11. macingman macrumors 68020


    Jan 2, 2011
    This has nothing to do with developers and everything to do with Apple. Many iOS developers could easily code for two screen sizes (proof? Universal apps which support both iPhone and iPad). Apple just hasn't released different size iPhone screens for one reason or another most of which are mentioned above.

    And yes I am aware you are probably being sarcastic I just want to put this out for the record.
  12. orangebluedevil macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2010
    Don't pay attention to all this nonsense about screen size and developers. That's only a secondary benefit. The main reason is supply chain.

    Stop saying there are few screen sizes for devs. There are many iOS screen sizes. 1024x768, 768x1024, 2048x1536, 1536x2048, 960x640, 640x960, 480x320, 320x480, and about to add 1136x640, 640x1136.

    When it serves Apple (read: Apple customers) better to add a screen size, then they will. Proof is in the pudding, they will be adding a screen size in less than 2 weeks. So screen size isn't dictating anything. It's supply chain.

    I wont rehash all the details about the screen being cut from the same sheets for the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch. And then the iPhones 3GS and the iPad mini. SUPPLY CHAIN.
  13. applefanDrew macrumors 65816

    Jul 17, 2010

    Cost more to do that. Cuts into Apple's profit.

    Plus, Apple is about focus. They don't make tons of products for every price point and every person. They focus on a few products and make them the best that they can.

    In iPhone's case, make one phone and make it the best that they can. It's all about focus.
  14. NathanA macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2008
    Yes, if you have never developed for iOS, then there is something that you're missing here. It's not that iOS developers are lazy; it's that Apple didn't include the necessary tools and support within their devkit/SDK and the API for their developers to create truly resolution-independent apps. If the platform doesn't support it, the platform doesn't support it. Now, there has been speculation that Apple will be bringing over the Auto Layout APIs to iOS 6, but the fact is that even if this happens, they still didn't exist for iOS developers to use before iOS 6, so you still have the problem of what to do about pre-iOS-6 apps.

    Wrong. As of right now, before the release of "the new iPhone," there are only two screen "sizes", and they're measured in "points", not "pixels": 480x320, and 1024x768. The other resolutions you listed are either the retina resolutions -- which are exactly twice the resolution of the old screens in both dimensions for a reason -- or the opposite device orientation. The retina resolutions don't count as an extra resolution because, again, developers write apps for resolutions measured in points, not pixels, and both the non-retina and retina resolutions are the exact same number of "points", so apps written pre-retina only needed to have their bitmap graphics updated to include so-called "2x" images, while all of the other controls remained in the exact same place without the developers being required to change anything, even if they referenced the placement of those controls using absolute screen coordinates.

    As far as the iPhone vs. iPad resolutions or the different screen orientations go, these are actually very good examples of exactly why Apple has avoided a multitude of different screen sizes so far: again, because of the lack of good resolution-independent APIs in iOS to-date, you will recall that when the iPad was first released, not a single iPhone app that had been released before then scaled to fit the iPad screen natively. Were all iOS developers lazy before the iPad? Really? You'd think that there would have been at least one developer that had "done things right" and had written their iPhone app to adjust for different screen sizes in case Apple ever made an iOS device with a bigger screen, right? No: every single iPhone app on the original iPad had "black bars" around it and was either displayed in 320x480 pixels or pixel-doubled to 960x640. And app developers who want to write for iPhone and iPad have to in essence make two completely separate versions of their app. You can release the app as a "single app" in the store as a universal binary so that you don't have to list it twice, but it really is basically two different apps inside one app bundle.

    As far as the screen orientations go, you can try to use the "springs and struts" control placement system to automatically adjust your app for portrait or landscape views, but that system is so limited and primitive that most developers actually end up writing two separate views for their app, in essence crafting two separate UIs: one for portrait orientation, and one for landscape. So, yeah: not a good example of "resolution independence," which for all intents and purposes does not exist in iOS.

    -- Nathan
  15. irDigital0l Guest

    Dec 7, 2010
    Actually majority of devs prefer to code for iOS compared to Android. Because Android has fragmentation and way too many devices its hard for them especially games.
  16. VulchR macrumors 68020


    Jun 8, 2009
    I stand corrected. However, even the snippet of code in the first link you provided didn't look at all like a 'bag of hurt', but just the way we used to get things done back in the day (and some of us still do). :eek:
  17. rockyroad55 macrumors 601


    Jul 14, 2010
    Phila, PA
    They do. When the 5 releases they will drop the price of the 4S for those that want to try iPhone out but don't want to shell out big bucks.

    Two screen sizes there.
  18. Technarchy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2012
    Like you're five?

    "go to your room and shut up"
  19. takeshi74, Sep 3, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2012

    takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    They don't think it makes business sense to do so. Do you have hard data (versus the opinion that's bandied about) to refute Apple's thinking?

    You'll understand when you grow up. :D

    Seriously, though, market niches, actual demand versus personal preference, R&D, supply lines, tooling, etc are things that many adults can't seem to grasp so I'm not sure why you think all this could be summed up for a 5 year old. That said, a lot of 5 year olds probably aren't burdened by the preconceived notions of adults.
  20. bandofbrothers macrumors 601


    Oct 14, 2007
    I also have had a play with the s3 and even tho the screen is rich and large I prefer being able to operate my iPhone 4s with one hand.

    So removing all the clever techno filled facts being thrown around on this thread it settles on what works for me !
  21. skidbubble macrumors 6502

    May 17, 2010
  22. iceterminal macrumors 68000


    May 25, 2008
    Dallas Tx.

    I'm sure its probably along the same lines as to why you can't have different screen sizes with the Galaxy SII or SIII, etc.

    Market research done by these large firms probably most likely to dictate the best size for sales to the consumer.
  23. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    Apple can design a phone with any screen size they want. They prefer 3.5 inch because it's easy to hold and operate with one or two hands, and fits in the pocket nicely. They are only making it 4 inches because they see that people actually like 4.3 and 4.5 inch phones. But according to their testing, a 4 inch phone is actually harder to use.
  24. RenoG macrumors 65816

    Oct 7, 2010
    Wirelessly posted

    It's not what this company (apple) chooses to do at this time.
  25. orangebluedevil macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2010
    So then why are some apps portrait only? And why did devs have to update for Retina displays?

    I know you are technically correct abouts "points", but devs still must optimize for the difference resolutions. It still requires skilled developers to prepare for different screen sizes. Yes, it's easier way way than on Android. But the point stands that this is not the reason anymore for one screen size. It may have been early in the iOS life, to get to critical mass in the store and attracts devs. But not anymore, now it's for supply chain, because they sell 50M in 3 months.

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