New iPhone could have 3.9" screen (1024x768 @ 326dpi)

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Haoshiro, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. Haoshiro, Apr 10, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012

    Haoshiro macrumors 68000


    Feb 9, 2006
    USA, KS
    It occurred to me today that if the idea of a Retina-display 7.85" iPad at 1024x768 was, at least mathematically, feasible then what would that work out to at an iPhone 326dpi?

    If my math is right that works out to ~3.93" a perfectly feasible iPhone screen size.

    This could have a really big benefit: it isn't introducing a new resolution but rather syncing them. Resulting in every piece of software made transition to the iPad that much easier.

    The form factor doesn't change that badly either. In terms of scaling the display ratio there is only 1/5" increase in width (that is, a 3:2 resolution would be 704x1024, bumping that to 768 is an additional 64 pixels, or 0.2" at 326dpi)

    I'm still skeptical that Apple will do this, but it might actually have a positive impact on App Store apps.


    That's physically 11% wider and 7% taller.
  2. terraphantm macrumors 68040

    Jun 27, 2009
    They won't do it for a couple reasons:
    A 4:3 ratio is not really appropriate on a phone like it is on a tablet
    The resolution is not an even multiplier of the existing iPhone resolution, developers will have to develop for it as if it's a totally separate device

    If they make the screen bigger, they'll probably just keep the current resolution. It won't be quite as dense as the original iPhone, but it'll be around 300 which is good enough to be considered retina. Most people probably wouldn't even be able to tell the clarity difference.
  3. FSMBP macrumors 68020


    Jan 22, 2009
    How about a 4" iPhone at 1200 by 800 resolution? By my math, the screen would be 3.35" tall and 2.23" wide (same aspect ratio as current iPhones 3:2).

    Also, the PPI would be slightly above the current 326 (it would be around 360PPI).
  4. Haoshiro thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 9, 2006
    USA, KS
    But it is a match to the iPad and comps should indicate it would work as well as any other ~4" size.

    I would argue it's better because many applications are "Plus" apps that are universal iPhone/iPad apps.

    Having a universal aspect ratio would actually be better from a dev perspective, especially once the smaller iPhone screens are phased out.

    Games specifically would be able to simply utilize the iPad version directly on the iPhone.
  5. terraphantm macrumors 68040

    Jun 27, 2009
    iPad apps wouldn't work well much below 7". The UI elements would be too small.
  6. Kyotoma macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2010
    Carnegie and Ontario
    I can see Apple going this route while keeping the IPS TFT-LCD technology that the current screen use.
  7. Castaway macrumors newbie


    Jan 1, 2008
    The problem is increasing fragmentation and the challenges it imposes upon both app development and customers' Apple experience. Granted, it'll never be as bad with iOS as it is with Android since there's only one company producing the devices and therefore in control of things. But, as time goes on, customer preferences change, and even Apple, with its reality distortion field (of which I am, incidentally, an incurable victim), is not immune to the repercussions. For example, a lot of people deem the 3.5" screen size just too small for a top-tier phone released in 2012. This, in turn, necessitates a solution for the screen size / resolution problem. A solution which introduces as little fragmentation as possible.

    At the moment there are iOS devices with two different resolutions that are not double/half the size of each other (iPhone: 480x320 / 960x640; iPad: 1024x768 / 2048x1536), and two respective sizes / form factors (iPhone: 3.5" / 3:2; iPad: 9.7" / 4:3).

    Currently it's straightforward for app developers to design software for both the iPhone and the iPad; because there are essentially only two resolutions and form factors, the apps effectively need to be designed for just two target devices. This was, of course, Apple's intent behind doubling the resolution. The biggest difference is that Retina displays call for Retina-grade graphics, but since the Retina resolution just doubles the number of pixels vertically and horizontally, downscaling is straightforward.

    Now, if Apple introduces a new resolution for iPhone into the mix that is not double-Retina (a ludicrous, albeit deliciously intriguing concept at 1920x1280), it will essentially act as a third target device, therefore increasing the workload of app designers who need to support the new resolution. And of course, there's the question of PPI. Just by upping the screen size would obviously mean that PPI goes down. To combat the drop in PPI, Apple could introduce a "non-standard" (in iOS terms) resolution like 1200x800, as mentioned in your post. This would mean that apps would need to either include graphics for two different resolutions (Retina, which could be directly downscaled, and the new resolution), or just provide graphics for the highest resolution and leave the scaling to be done in software. The former option would obviously have heavier impact on app sizes, particularly with more graphics intensive apps (think Infinity Blade, etc.), and the latter could produce substandard results.

    Screen size change would also force designers to rethink their apps' layouts. If the new screen size would be, say, 4.0", would it be best to just let everything look a bit bigger, or should the graphics be scaled down so that they would look the same size as on the 3.5" screen, therefore leaving more screen estate either unused or better utilized by other things? Options would be, then, to either have "bigger buttons" or a redesigned layout.

    Apple definitely has to make a judgment call, and it's going to be a tough one. The 3.5" screen size is inevitably approaching the feature phone space. Then again, not everyone wants a comparably humongous device with a screen like 4.7 inches or more. The most important thing from a design and fragmentation control standpoint is that Apple retains the 3:2 form factor. Still, any decision that leads to an iPhone screen size that is different from 3.5" or a resolution not 1:1 scalable with existing models will pose Apple problems that they cannot take lightly.

    Whatever Apple decides, there's bound to be quite a bit of complaining from customers. If Apple wants to continue selling the iPhone as a singular model (a strategy that has greatly benefited them thus far), they need to estimate what would be the best decision not only for the 2012 iPhone, but also for the next few models. To be more specific, Apple can't just introduce a new screen size and resolution this year, and do the same the next. That would expedite iOS fragmentation, which Apple has been thus far able to combat successfully.
  8. Stealthipad macrumors 68040


    Apr 30, 2010
    So, this just occured to you today?:p
  9. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    iPhone's aspect ratio is 3:2, which is wider than 4:3. I can only see them making it wider rather than shrinking it down to a square.
  10. Haoshiro thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 9, 2006
    USA, KS
    I think you have that backwards.
  11. Eddie Bombay macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2011
    3.5" on an iPhone is fine. If you want anything bigger just get an iPad.

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Note using Tapatalk.
  12. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    No, it's only fair considering how a "wider" phone in portrait orientation would make some UI elements harder to reach when user is operating the phone with only one hand.

    Someone said in another thread that 4" at 640 x 1152 (or 1152 x 640 if you prefer the conventional aspect ratio scheme) would also chime in with Retina Display specs, and I personally think that would make perfect sense.

    Apple can keep the iPhone the same size, but make the bezels to the top and bottom thinner. The extra vertical pixels (192 pixels) can be used for the virtual home button that we have heard so much about. So not only will it be a bigger screen, it'll also allow Apple to simulate a virtual home button without any issue. In fact, that space can also be used for the app switcher, Siri, system control widgets, and other neat stuffs. They'll finally be able to move away from that dreaded home button.

    The aspect ratio would also be much closer to 16:9 as well.

    Another neat fact is that 1152 is 6:5 to 960, so if Apple can display 4 x 5 icons on the 960 x 640 screen, they can display 4 x 6 icons easily on the taller screen.
    I think that's a logical step.
  13. Minhimalism macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2012
    I'm not paying attention to any of these problems that are being brought up.. so I don't know how feasible this is, but if it is, then damn, that's one nice phone. I'd love a 4" screen.
  14. clumsythief83 macrumors regular

    Sep 3, 2010
  15. shawndre macrumors member

    Oct 17, 2008
    I think it looks a lot better than the 16:9 mock up that was posted. A taller screen would be useless IMO
  16. Shanekarpi251 macrumors member

    May 11, 2011
    I love the idea and I think it looks good too. Hopefully it's realistic to happen :D
  17. AlphaVictor87 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2011
    Saint Louis, MO
    I was about to post something about what you were saying until i read this last paragraph. :D

    I agree, Whatever decision Apple makes they will make sure they stick to their guns, and they most likely will. Its going to be the only way to justify to developers that they have to change the way they make their apps.

    If they could say "hey, we will have this for at least 5 years" i'm sure app developers won't have any problem making the changes they need to make while simultaneously phasing out the old versions eventually they would stop making the phones with 3.5" screens (crazy to even think about someday they will stop making iPhone 4s's)
  18. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Although its nice I'm curious if Apple will start to get away from LCD screens to a more energy efficient display (maybe something new).

    I believe some of the competition like the gnex has 4.65" screen at 316 ppi.

    I wouldn't imagine apple would come to the table with a much lower ppi. I wouldn't think it will be less then we have now either just to save on manufacturing cost. These are premium devices not some half ass trying to cut corners phone.
  19. Haoshiro thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 9, 2006
    USA, KS
    I agree it needs to be a long term solution.

    Personally I'd love to have parity between the iPad and iPhone aspect ratios, if not resolutions. Not just as a user, but also as a developer (only a small number of minor apps).

    Yes there would still need to be UI differences due to actual screen size but the effort itself would be easier rather then harder.

    Games would likely benefit the most as the core assets would not need to be adjusted at all (an iPad game would move 1:1 to the iPhone, with only the UI needing adjusted). This would of course benefit 2D games more then 3D.

    As a user, the more universal apps the better!
  20. OceanView macrumors 65816

    Sep 16, 2005
    Just increase the diagonal width and keep the same dimension ratio as the current iPhone.
    This will be the easiest and most logical solution.
    DPI is not gonna be that noticeable on a small screen unless they go 4.6" or higher.
  21. macMD macrumors 6502


    Nov 25, 2005
    New York
    They could always go 1920 x 1280 which would simple be doubling the resolution of the existing 960 x640 and continue the 3:2 ratio. This would also give them a nice display to keep the 6th -10th Gen iPhones running ahead for a while longer.
  22. terraphantm macrumors 68040

    Jun 27, 2009
    600+ppi would be insane... not sure if it's even feasible with current technology for a reasonable price.
  23. Xgm541 macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    Am I the only one who found this to be funny?
  24. OceanView macrumors 65816

    Sep 16, 2005
    Ha ha, yeah didn't see that.
  25. irDigital0l Guest

    Dec 7, 2010
    lol at 5" galaxy note.

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