Even though we are likely a good 6 months away from seeing Apple’s next iPhone in the flesh, we are already hearing tons of gossip regarding possible new features. One rumor in particular, an all-new 4-inch display, seems to be surfacing rather consistently.

Folks in the Apple community have been postulating the existence of a 4-inch iPhone for more than a year now. And after more than two years with the iPhone 4 design, and over 5 years with the 3.5-inch form factor, many think the handset is ripe for a change…

As noted by 9to5Mac, a user over in The Verge’s forums has come up with a pretty interesting case for how Apple could conceivably move to a 4-inch display in a future iPhone. He gives a lengthy explanation, but here’s the gist of it:

“Change the aspect ratio. As I mentioned above, all iPhones (and iPod touches) have had an aspect ratio of 3:2. Could Apple change the aspect ratio to increase the screen size while maintaining the same 326ppi (pixels per inch)?

…For those of you who are good with numbers I’m sure you’ve noted that 1152 x 640 has an aspect ratio of 9:5 and the 1152 pixels is an increase of 192 from 960 and that’s 20% more than on the iPhone 4 and 4S.”

Of course, changing the screen’s resolution and aspect ratio would present a number of problems — especially for app developers. While it’s not uncommon for devs to have to redesign their applications for new Apple products (iPhone 4, new iPad), in this scenario, apps that weren’t updated would look noticeably different.

There’s two ways Apple could handle this. One, would be to stretch the app’s UI across the screen — which would look terrible. Or two, it could letter-box the app in its natural 960 x 640 area, meaning you’d see black space on either side of it. It seems, however, that both of these solutions would create Android-like fragmentation problems.

Despite these holes, the theory does have some merit. And we have to admit the mockups look good. It’ll be interesting to see if Apple finally decides to give the iPhone’s screen a .5-inch bump this year.

What do you think?

  • Dan

    I’m really hoping for a 4” screen, but I never thought about the screw-ups it would cause with the apps. Most likely it will not happen due to this…

    • Anonymous

      Me too, I don’t even care about the minor fragmentation it would cause, and all the popular apps would be updated too, just like when both the retina displays were introduced.

      • Anonymous

        it isnt you that needs to care, its the app developers that would have to worry about designing an app to suit the pre-iphone 4 resolution, the 4/4S retina resolution, the 4 inch screen’s different aspect ratio, the ipad 1 & 2 size, the ipad 3rd gen’s retina display, and numerous different screen sizes and resolutions found on android (if the dev so wishes to branch to the android platform).

        this is why apples consistent aspect ratio has been a factor (however big) in its app store being larger than androids, because dev’s would find it much easier to only develop for a select few ratios

      • Anonymous

        it isnt you that needs to care, its the app developers that would have to worry about designing an app to suit the pre-iphone 4 resolution, the 4/4S retina resolution, the 4 inch screen’s different aspect ratio, the ipad 1 & 2 size, the ipad 3rd gen’s retina display, and numerous different screen sizes and resolutions found on android (if the dev so wishes to branch to the android platform).

        this is why apples consistent aspect ratio has been a factor (however big) in its app store being larger than androids, because dev’s would find it much easier to only develop for a select few ratios

  • Kok Hean

    This will not happen. Apple likes to have consistent aspect ratios for the iPhone.

  • very unlikely.

  • Alain Vasquez

    hope it doesn’t happen then it will be to much and wont look good

  • seanwes

    No, no, no. I wish this rumor would just go away. This is why it will never happen: http://dcurt.is/2011/10/03/3-point-5-inches/

    • Ive had my iPhone for about a year now, even though i can use it one handed i find myself using it 2 handed most of the time because it is simply just faster and easier to do. I think i bigger screen would be awesome because i like to game on my phone and the 3.5″ screen isnt doing it justice.

  • Howard Ellacott

    If it did they’d keep the same aspect ratio.. then apps developed for the new devices would also work on older ones as well 😀

  • Is there really a need for a bigger screen? If I want a big brick in my pocket I’ll buy a Samsung or an HTC. Bigger screen doesn’t mean better phone. The iPhone is a comfortable size and doesn’t look ridiculous. As with people it’s what’s on the inside that counts. 😉

  • Anonymous

    For a bigger screen there is something called the iPad.

  • Anonymous

    If they make the screen bigger without increasing the size of the handset then yes, the iPhone is currently the right size imo and I wouldn’t buy it if it was any bigger, not everybody wants a phone the size of a tablet and i’ve noticed a lot of people wanting a 4.5″ + screen which is stupid imo, the key word for me is mobile …. Reduce the size of the home button or lose it completely, maybe even move it from the front of the device and increase the screen size that way, shrink or do away with the bezel and have edge to edge screen and i’m sure they would appeal to far more of their current users and prospective users than if they make the phone bigger and alienate the millions who don’t want a huge phone/screen and think the current iteration of iPhone is just the right size.

    • Dan

      I agree 4.5” is too much, but I really like the size of the samsung galaxy s2 (which is 4” if I’m not mistaken). My girlfriend has smaller hands than me and she finds it to be the perfect size.

      • Anonymous

        I love the size of the iPhone 4 but i’m sure they could accomodate both of us if the simply utilised the current phone size and the extra screen that could be obtained if it were edge to edge, i’m sure that they could make a 4″ screen on an iPhone without increasing the size of the handset, at least that’s my hope lol

  • Anonymous

    i think its funny that everyone “knows” what apple would do…until they do something different

  • Ew. No.
    There’s no reason to change the aspect ratio of the iPhone. Thats just asking for problems.

  • Anonymous

    what could they do to this phone that would make me purchase a new one if the screen size does not change? i love the speed of my 4S, the display, and the camera…we are just about tapping out on what can be added to it arent we?

  • Anonymous

    Couldn’t they widen and lengthen it to keep the ratio the same (2.22″ x 3.33″ = 4″)
    For me though, I prefer smaller (current size) as opposed to bigger like the Samsungs.

  • Anonymous

    i seriously hope that apple keeps the screen the same size

  • Michael Ramos

    i myself am fine with the 3.5 inch screen. no real need for a 4 inch screen or 4.5 like android phones

  • #iPhone #iPad To anyone who want a bigger iPhone or a smaller iPad: Go an grab an Android Tablet and stop whining

  • 4″ perhaps, different resolution never. I am surprised this blog mentioning something like that. Its embarrassing.

  • Anonymous

    A 4″ screen would be nice, but it’s not primary concern. LTE capability, and how it operates a long with the battery life is paramount to me. Other than the fact that the 4S doesn’t have LTE capabilities, it’s a pretty solid iPhone.

  • I heard from a reliable source that the next generation iPhone will be completely remodeled. So, it will not look like the iPhone 4 or 4S, but they also said that the screen will be the same. Can’t wait.

    • Anonymous

      What is your “reliable source?”

      • It’s up to you if you want to believe me or not. If you go back to last year’s rumors about the iPhone 4S, and the year before that about the iPhone 4, and look up all of my comments, you’ll see that I’ve always been right. I said that the iPhone 4 was going to be square-ish and have a better screen, and then i said that the iPhone 4S was going to be the same as the 4 with a better camera and new software. No one reads my comments though… Haha. Just trust me, the next generation iPhone will have the core features, but it will be completely remodeled.

      • Anonymous

        That’s not my question, and I never said I didn’t beleive you. I simply asked what your “reliable source” was.

  • Anonymous

    …Or they could require all apps to get different size images.

  • I’m perfectly happy with the current aspect ratio and phone size. why change a good thing?

  • the 9:5 ratio seems awesome. I’d love to watch my movies in that

  • Anonymous

    My wishlist for the new iPhone is simple. It would have to have a 4+ inch screen, 200-300% louder speakers out of the box, and at least a 2000 mAh battery. Innovation is one thing but the innovation ends when you keep releasing the same thing over and over and over and over. I love my iPhone 4 but damn Im tired of charging it and having it turn sideways in my pocket.

  • Raschmin Steinbrecher

    by 16:9 ratio the display would be 640×1138 it’s 3,97inch when it have the same ppi…

  • Anonymous

    And what about 4S users running iPhone 5 apps? That would look awful

  • Anonymous

    Never thought of it that way…Devs would be in trouble…..could this mean we’ll never see anything other than a 3.5 inch screen??