Why Apple would want to make the iPhone’s screen bigger

By , Jun 6, 2012

According to recent rumors, reports and speculation, Apple’s next-generation smartphone will finally receive a bump in screen size. It seems like everyone is convinced that the next iPhone, expected to drop later this year, will be sporting an all-new 4-inch display.

But while we’ve heard a number of theories regarding how Apple could go about implementing such a change, we’ve yet to hear any explanations for why it would want to. Why would it all of a sudden want to change the iPhone’s display size after 5 years?

Of course, the easiest explanation would be to say that Apple is making the iPhone’s screen larger to match wits with its Android counterparts. But considering that at 3.5-inches, the phone is already the best-selling device on nearly every one of its carrier partners, this doesn’t really make sense.

The New York Times’ David Pogue seems to think it has something to do with battery size. He believes that extending the iPhone’s screen another half inch would allow Apple to use a larger battery to help power new features like LTE.

“So I’m guessing that the iPhone’s upsizing will be equally necessary to accomodate a bigger battery, so that Apple can solve the 4G/dead battery issue. I’ll bet you that when the new iPhone appears, Apple will point out that the battery life is no worse than the iphone 4S’s, even though it’s got 4G LTE.”

Pogue might actually be onto something here. Even with Qualcomm’s latest LTE chipsets, the 4G technology is bound to still add a ton of stress to the iPhone’s battery. Mix in a larger display, and the handset’s current power problems, and a bigger battery starts to make sense. Hey, it worked for the third-generation iPad.

But if you don’t like the “bigger battery” theory, TheNextWeb’s Matthew Panzarino has a similarly interesting take. He suggests that Apple could be giving the iPhone a 4-inch, 16:9 display to make it more compatible with HD video.

“While all movies aren’t shot at 16:9, most of them are significantly closer to that aspect ratio than 3:2. So what if Apple is preparing a for the release of its eventual movie streaming service by making the phone more film-friendly?”

This is also a good point. Content delivery is ingrained in Apple’s DNA, and it’s no secret that the company is betting a lot on the future of HD video streaming. So what better way to help usher in such a future than to introduce a film-friendly handset?

In the end, this is all pure speculation. But you can bet that if Apple really is going to rock the boat, and make a major change to its most popular product — one that will cause hundreds of thousands of apps to be redesigned — it has a solid reason for doing so. The question is, what is it?

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  • http://twitter.com/MrFireh0tz MrFirehOtz

    your eyes still wont be able to read more at a time

    • http://twitter.com/Devin_Plebuch Devin Plebuch

      I have a degree in psychology and neuroscience–this is absolutely correct: the phone cannot increase your visual field!

    • Anonymous

      true, but you dont read everything – you prepare your brain to what’s coming because your eyes see all the screen although you don’t read it all.

      if you follow your logic throw away your iPad (in my trash can of course).

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2JFDZXSTUH2HWGIM6NSZX66KWA Kurt

        good thinking…and you did that without a degree :D

      • seyss

        Lol i have a degree just not in psy and other stuff like that

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000136061852 Karan Sahota

    Hmm, Why Apple would want to make the iPhones screen bigger?. BECAUSE IT WILL LOOKING FUCKING BETTER?

    • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

      The iPhones small retina display looks ten times better than some of the skateboard android displays out there.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000136061852 Karan Sahota

        Apple use retina displays and Android use some other suckish screen, If you think size effects quality, look at an iPad 3 then at an iPod Touch 4, iPhone 4 or 4S. Same quality right? and I heard Apple are looking for screens better than there current retinas.

      • Ronald Weaver

        I’m a true apple die hard fan. And I won’t lie about what I really think about tho. I honestly think some Samsung screens look more vibrant in color than the retina display.

      • http://www.youtube.com/Tr1pTr0p Tr1pTr0p

        I prefer the HD SAMOLED display on the SGS3 over the retina display I’m currently holding in my hand, while seriously considering dropping it for an Android phone when my contract ends…

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000136061852 Karan Sahota

        Like I said Apple is looking to improve their Retina displays.

  • Lucas Gantioqui

    what is the differences of Sporting and Supporting? (TECH)

  • http://twitter.com/klouud Timothy Polumbo

    If Apple starts doing a streaming service via Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Apple TV then you can say goodbye to Netflix. Once you burn through all of the “good” content on Netflix, its pretty much a barren waste land. Plus it takes forever for new movies to hit their library and even longer for new movies to reach customers because everyone is requesting them (the movies that have just been released to DVD).

    A 100% streaming service would be awesome! And as long as I have unlimited access to Apple’s movie/TV database then I’d pay a premium for said service.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Titanyium Jonathan Fuchs

      I wish Netflix would either just, get better, or just die.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2JFDZXSTUH2HWGIM6NSZX66KWA Kurt

      Thor is on Netflix

  • http://twitter.com/hackthatsh1t Chris Stolfi

    Because of droid And once they do cell phone sales man can’t use it as a plus to rip someone off and talk the. Into a droid because why no comission on iPhone but there is for droid….have pulling that battery out and the fake so called open sourcing…ya ok jailbreak is the only treeue oppen source that worth it I’ve seen anyone agree

  • http://twitter.com/Devin_Plebuch Devin Plebuch

    I will not purchase a phone because it is taller–i would purchase a slightly wider phone with a screen larger while the device height remained the same. 5.1.1 and Absinthe on the 4S are great battery wise.

  • http://macmagazine.com.br/ Eduardo Marques

    The iPad didn’t change the display/gadget size to accommodate a new powerful battery, so, Pogue’s theory is not good in my opinion.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Titanyium Jonathan Fuchs

      The third gen iPad was thicker, and if I’m not mistaken the iPad 3 got a bigger battery because of the screen upgrade.

      • http://macmagazine.com.br/ Eduardo Marques

        Yes, it’s thicker, but in my opinion this is more relative with the two LEDs bar for the new screen than with battery. And Pogue’s theory is that if Apple make a bigger phone (with a bigger screen), will be good to fit a new battery. In my view, Apple proved that can make better batteries almost with the same structure size (iPad third generation).

  • Anonymous

    i doubt that Apple will change the screen size.

  • Anonymous

    On the technical side: the jaibreak tweak FullForce does a good job of upscaling (i.e. the Facebook messenger app on my iPad) iPhone apps. The same thing can surely be done within iOs 6 with the help of Apple. I am guessing that 90% of the Apps will be updated by the developers to take the new screen size into consideration and of the rest about 75% will work fine with an Apple/FullForce “upscaling” algorithm

    • http://twitter.com/nAcolz Acolz

      Wait so there’s 165% of apps? Lol

      • Anonymous

        “OF THE REST”

        so 90% of apps will be updated by devels (i.e. when they integrate the new Facebook features of iOs6 or the mapping)

        of the remaining 10% (that’s what I meant) 75% will work with some auto scaling feature (the thing FullForce is doing with iphone -> iPad scaling now)

        So IMHO 90% + 7.5% (75% of 10%) = 97.5% of apps are save.
        Only 2.5% of ALL apps will pose a problem.

        just my 2 cents

  • Anonymous

    screen size ≠ phone size

  • http://twitter.com/nAcolz Acolz

    The 3.5″ is like the golden ratio of photography, something else might look good but the 3.5″ is the standard that gets the wow effect. IMHO all my friends who have phones like Evo 3D or Nexus look like they need to compensate something with the size of the phone, maybe the horrible ui and system.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Cooper/100000164561256 Matthew Cooper

    Most of the battery life goes to powering the screen. So wouldnt a bigger screen take away from a bigger battery anyway?

  • http://twitter.com/WillyLMFAO Wilder Aparicio

    I have an Android phone, 3.5in screen :)

  • Anonymous

    If the new iPhone does have 16:9, does that mean it will fill an entire HDTV when plugged in via the digital a/v adapter? If so, that would be worth it for me…full screen mirroring.

  • Alec Vanek

    If the “new iPhone” doesn’t have at least a 4 inch screen and some other stuff like LTE and iOS 6 is crazy awesome, then I’m going to switch to android. Tell apple I said that.

    • Eddie Hernandez

      I’m sure they could give two shits if you leave. Android doesn’t want you pissy apple fanboys either tired of the same product for 6 years.

  • Wael Abdo

    same phone size and bigger screen is wicked, dunno how much that is doable. would be very nice though.

  • Anonymous

    Moving to a 4-inch screen would tear the app store a new ass hole. It worked with the retina screen because it was scalable. Making it 16:9 would never happen because watching a movie on your phone is only one thing it can do out of thousands. It makes no sense to base the entire screen ratio on one function.

    • Anonymous

      Doesn’t make sense to me either. I would rather see a slightly larger screen at same resolution, still high DPI but just bigger both dimensions. It would make the keyboard a tad easier to use too. Only justification I can think of for stretched screen is if they have some big plans for persistent bar at the top (enhanced notification system, etc.)

  • http://twitter.com/Amyescence D.

    The bigger the screen the more battery it will take so I suppose IF Apple increases the screen, then by default a better (not necessarily bigger) battery must come with it.

    In another hand, I don’t know about you guys but I’m still not “ok” with the idea of a taller but not a wider screen. It just doesn’t feel right -in my opinion-.

  • http://twitter.com/SubPrimeTime Javier Lopez

    I forget why apple wouldn’t follow in android’s footsteps when it comes to having many different device screen sizes and aspect ratios….. Oh wait that’s right. Catering to different screen sizes and aspect ratios is a pain and tends to rarely work out properly.

  • http://twitter.com/Jmalag Jorge Malagrino

    I don´t care what they do, as long as the fix the battery issue..if not..bye bye IOS hello Android! My 4s is more like a baby, always hungry for more energy haha it´s really a bummer!

  • http://twitter.com/AreCoreAxC Trino A. Correa

    Orrrr…they could just be satisfying most iPhone owners who would like to not be left behind in the wake of other manufactures coming out with 4+” screens…I know that’s the case with most of my friends and myself who are all iPhone owners and have been wanting this for years…

  • http://twitter.com/aomia syler

    not to sure i like the screen. i think its b/c its long it kinda looks weird abit. i look at it this way if i cant touch all of the screen with my thumb without streching its a good thing i had the dell streak with a 5” screen and it was a lot to use with just one hand but i did like the big screen to watch stuff on but when i got my ipad i ditched the dell streak (that and i missed my iphone lol) and i watch all my vids on my ipad now. we will just have to see what apple has to offer next week and i cant wait im thinking about taking the day off from work just so i dont miss a blog or tweet on this lol

  • http://www.unitedworx.com Paris Paraskeva

    Rumors, Rumors, Rumors!

    Apple WILL NOT increase the iPhone size!

    Here is why!

    1. It would be stupid to do so, especially the way all rumors say that it will extend the screen height. This wont benefit 70% of app store apps which are games.

    2. Any increase in screen size would fragment the iOS ecosystem, something which apple is fanatical about not doing!

    3. IPad 3 has 70% higher capacity battery while staying at the same size, what makes you think iPhone 5 won’t have that battery technology in order to make up the extra LTE power consumption?

    4. Tim Cook only recently stated that iOS is better since its one phone with one screen resolution! What makes you think he made that claim if they were planning to fragment iPhone screen size?

    5. Steve Jobs bio clearly stayed that they build 20 iPad prototypes in order to get to the perfect IPad screen size! What makes you think they followed different aproach?

    • Anonymous

      Yeah it will increase. Just because it hasn’t changed it 5 years, does that mean for the next 5 its not changing either?

      Deep down you have to admire the S2/S3 screen, put our Puny phones next to them .. come on don’t be so blinded by fanboydom

      • http://www.unitedworx.com Paris Paraskeva

        erm… you mean admire my fiends that got some sort of phones that they can’t even fit in their jeans pockets?

        No thanks! I won’t take!

        Not blinded at all! Had bigger “touchscreen” phones before the iPhone or any android ever existed.

        I want a pocketable phone!

        For bigger screen I have my iPad which is much better at 10” than a 5” phone trying to be a tablet as well!

    • http://twitter.com/DatDude_Knight I_swear_it_wasnt_me

      What do you think now? Still feel the same way? I guess not, and i bet you own an iphone 5?

  • Andre3stax

    So, come the year 2022, the iPhone should still remain the same screen dimensions according to the thoughts of most???

    • http://www.unitedworx.com Paris Paraskeva

      So your thoughts is that by 2022, phones will have 15” screens?

      What makes you think that the iPhone screen size is not good enough! Do you think that making the screen 1′ bigger will help your productivity? Will surely make you phone more difficult to carry around!

      The evolution of the touchscreen devices with larger screens happened a few years ago, if you have missed it, you can get a tablet ranging from 7” to 10” which will serve as the bigger screen device! Wont replace your phone, Wont replace your laptop, but something that fits in between! wait wasn’t this how the iPad was introduced? Apple already gave you a bigger screen device, but thats not your phone

      • Andre3stax

        No, not even talking about a full inch! The rumor is just a screen .5 inch larger than the current one. My hands and pockets perfectly capable of handling an extra 1/2 inch and it would be a better visual to have more screen real estate. I own an iPhone and an iPad already, you’re making bad assumptions. But I assume you have small hands and wear tight pants.

  • Anonymous

    :)

  • iamnotfan

    for me 3.5 inch sreen like working on 14 inch monitor now
    i respect Apple and i have one coz they made the first of its kind
    but my next phone will be s3
    if iPhone 5 comes with 4 inch and less havier i will go with iphone 5

    “ignorence is bliss”

    sorry iamnotafan

  • Sirchristopher Brown

    Because they need yo have the biggest screen to be the best… Or least give me the option then see how many they will sell :0)