iPhone 6 mockup (Settings, Sam Beckett 001)

We’ve seen our fair share of the supposedly leaked technical drawings, front panel parts, third-party cases and manufacturing molds concerning Apple’s next iPhone, but what about bigger-screened apps?

A form factor change will probably yield a higher screen resolution so developers will need to optimize apps for 4.7 and 5.5-inch canvases. The larger 5.5-inch iPhone reportedly got delayed over production issues so we’ll sharpen our focus on the 4.7 incher.

Now, current iPhones rock 640-by-1,136 screens, resulting in a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch (ppi). Should the next iPhone come outfitted with a larger 4.7-inch screen at the same 326ppi, its resolution is going to increase to about 756-by-1,344 pixels.

Quickly, do the math in your head: that’s 40 percent more pixels for the apps and content you care about. Sweet, no?

I have a few smart mockups and some thoughts to share with you on what apps could look like on a larger-screened iPhone 6 and what Apple can do to weather this transition…

The above image was shared on Twitter by Brilliant Basics designer Sam Beckett.

It’s just a mockup and not a leak, but it does give us a good idea of what a typical iOS app – in this case the stock Settings app – could look like on a 4.7-inch screen (it impressed Apple’s user interface designer Jan-Michael Can who favorited it on Twitter).

And here’s another one showing the Home screen on the iPhone 5s (left) versus the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 (right).

iPhone 6 mockup (Home screen, Sam Beckett 001)

Notice how the icons are the same size as on the iPhone 5s, but with increased spacing like with the iPad. “I could design another row/column but it would be a very crowded home screen, detracting from the simplicity Apple likes,” remarked Beckett.

I’m with him: adding another row and column would just litter the Home screen with more icons. On the other hand, I can also see how sensical it’d be to have additional icons on a bigger canvas because of better overview. If Apple’s going to ship an iPhone with a big screen, it better put those pixels to good use, some would say.

We can only guess at this point whether the iPhone 6 will add more pixels by retaining the current pixel density of 326ppi or venture past Retina, into the 500ppi territory.

Should Apple go with four times more pixels like they did with the iPhone 4, the next iPhone 6 will have a screen resolution of a whopping 2,272-by-1,280. I don’t believe this is going to happen as having that many pixels would put a tremendous strain on the battery, CPU and GPU.

iPhone 6 concept (NowhereElse and Martin Hajek 001)
iPhone 6 rendering by 3D artist Martin Hajek.

Besides, I doubt an average human eye is able to discern the increased clarity and sharpness on a mobile display of this resolution. Moreover, I don’t think 2,272-by-1,280 screens can be mass produced reliably in 2014 in volume, especially given Apple’s insane volume requirements.

On the other hand, we have LG’s forthcoming G3 smartphone said to sport a 5.5-inch screen with a tantalizing pixel density of 432ppi – enough for a whopping qHD resolution of 2,560-by-1,440 pixels.

On his part, Beckett argues that Apple would benefit from keeping the iPhone 6’s display at the current Retina pixel density of 326ppi. Firstly, there would be a potential increase in battery life as there would be no additional pixels to light up. And secondly, developers would find the transition easier because they wouldn’t have to update image assets and UI layouts.

This internal Apple slide proves the company is cognizant that time is nigh for an iPhablet.

Speaking of developers, Apple provides a robust set of tools that make these transitions as painless as possible. The company advises developers to use auto-layout tools that deal with the placement and size of user interface elements in relative instead of absolute terms.

As in, this button is centered horizontally, this switch needs to be aligned to the right, this logo image goes to the top and 20 percent from the left side and so forth. This way, the operating system can automatically adapt the UI to whatever screen resolution is available, based on rules and priorities set by the developer.

But what do we do with nearly a million apps in the App Store designed for the existing iPhones? The brute force solution: until developers update them for the iPhone 6, the handset could letter-box non-optimized apps, as evidenced when Apple transitioned from 3.5 to four inch iPhones in 2012.

iPhone 6 mockup (Settings, optimized vs non-optimized)
Source: Imgur.com, via The Verge forums.

Apple could also increase the display size while keeping the current 1,1360-by-640 pixel count intact, but that would simply make the pixels bigger and decrease the pixel density below Retina-approved 320ppi, down to 264ppi.

On the other hand, a 4.7-inch device can be held further away so a lower pixel density may not necessarily degrade the screen sharpness.

iPhone 6 mockup (Apple Maps, optimized vs non-optimized)

I wish Apple increased the iPhone’s screen size to 4.7 inches back in 2012…

Better late than never, I guess.

And your thoughts on the bigger-screened iPhone(s)?

Should Apple add more rows and columns on the Home screen and how should the company go about ensuring that existing apps look good on the upcoming devices during the transitional period?

  • Maxim∑

    I was sure Apple would cut the bezel down a lot, but from the leaks it looks like they didn’t

    • Stefano

      How do you feel about that? It’s actually very disappointing for me. I don’t know how I feel entirely about it, but it’s certainly disappointing.

      • Maxim∑

        I’m pretty disappointed about the bezel thing. Apple strongly marketed in the past that a phone should be used with one hand. So for them to increase the display size but keep the bezel the same size makes no sense.

        It looks pretty big-

      • Stefano

        Couldn’t agree more.

      • redjazon

        It’s looong );
        I’m disappointed too );

      • Himanshu Oberoi

        Because Apple Want It Comfortable in One Hand !

      • omrishtam

        disappointed before they intoduced it…nice

      • redjazon

        Well, last years leak on 5s and 5c were pretty much correct. Let’s hope I’m wrong,

      • SkyFall

        And if you look at the top of the “new” iPhone it seems that the camera hole has been moved back were it was in the iPhone 4/4s (next to the receiver) and not on top like it is in the 5/5s.

      • blastingbigairs

        Good thing it’s not the “new” iPhone and only someones rendition.

      • redjazon

        I know that. i own Apple products so am not trying to bash. I wud still get the new ip6 no matter what.
        Am just sayin, it seems like it is going to be the design since last years leak on 5s and 5c were pretty much correct. Let’s hope I’m wrong,

      • Anthony Snyder

        That’s a 5.1″ screen size as some websites did the math and found out… Looks like a fake to me.

    • TheShade247

      They simply can’t because of home button. If they change the shape “samsung style”
      Then samesung might sue them

      • Batman

        he meant side bezels, top and bottom ones are just fine
        plus, who would want to make their phones look like Shamesung?

      • N&LH

        I think if Apple wants to change the design of the home button to make it for example looks like the one in Galaxy device. That means they have to rebuild the fingerprint technology again. Since Apple has implemented the technology into the Home Button

      • The round button needs to go. Hopefully the fingerprint tech will still work well in shape like that on Samsung’s phones (i think it will)

      • N&LH

        If they make the button looks like the one on Samsung devices. Then I think they might need to change what is inside the home button. Take a look at the picture

      • Very good point. I wonder if it’s possible. I hope so anyway :-/

      • N&LH

        I am sure iPhone 6 will have a beautiful design as usual.

      • Brian F.

        Apple is NOT going to reinvent Touch ID. Why would a huge company like Apple not have these things planned out already? They already had (and have) a time line for their products they are going to release not just this year, but the next as well. They did not release Touch ID on the 5S and then decide the day after what they were going to do on the iPhone 6. So yes, the Touch ID sensor and the way it works as of today will definitely stay the same for the iPhone 6.

    • At

      Need to take these “leaks” with a grain of salt. Apple makes a bunch of different prototypes to see what works and what doesn’t, these leaks could be one if those. Or they are not leaks at all but manufacturers making 1 faceplate off the iPhone 5s’s design, or case makers trying to be the first to get a case for the iPhone 6 out on release day.

    • Anthony Snyder

      What leaks? Device leaks? Like the teardroppped shape iPhone 5? Take these rumors with a half a grain of salt. It’s too early in the leaking cycle.

  • Thiago Vaccaro

    I really want a 5.5 iPhone, it would kill all the competitors, including Samsung! Apple has their biggest opportunity in their hand, since Galaxy S5 launch was a complete failure. Now is the time, Apple! Don’t waste it this huge chance

    • Meatloafers

      Yeah, since 5s even with smaller screen wouldn’t last a day with its battery so why not go larger screen. It doesn’t matter if the reso is not 2k/4k. And they should also include the fast charge technology from find 7 and G2/G3. I use G2 now, and if apple will release an iphone 6 with larger screen and bezzless then for sure I will go back to apple again. There is nothing wrong having 5inch+ screen unless it has 6inch. lol

      • Thiago Vaccaro

        True, mate! They really need to improve that battery, it is the most annoying issue on iPhone’s usage.

    • Jack Lay

      I guess #Apple has their 3-5 years objective/plan of what their product line goes, so it won’t produce any devices last minute

    • John

      You never know it might be a soft launch like the iPad mini with retina display was last year.

      • Technocrz!

        no way, this is the year when iPhone will change with the number means everything new.

      • John

        No no, that’s not what I meant.

        Do you remember there was a HUGE fanfare for the iPad Air lunch but the iPad mini with retina display was launched VERY quietly…that could happen this year.

        The first iPhone wild be launched with much excitement but if the 5.5″ was going to be released this year, it might be done on the down low……..quietly.

      • Technocrz!

        but if 5.5 will launch under separate event, then the hype will be there and i believe apple will launch it separate they will not disturb their main baby i.e. iPhone, i think apple should give three sizes with same under the hood specs, 4″, 4.7″ or may be 5″, both sizes will be called iPhone & mini, but the 5.5″ will be iPhablet. then they will cover all sizes demand users. my demand is 4.7 to 5″ not more than that, but people need bigger as well so small too.

  • -_____-

    Why not 1920×1080 resolution? or 2K Resolution?

    • Why bother? You won’t see a difference.

      • Batman

        Yeah, he/she will. Everyone will.

      • Guest

        Are you joking or trolling?? You can definitely tell the difference. Why not just compare a 1080p screen that is 441ppi at 5 inches. Its absolutely noticeable. Ignore the faux-fact made up by Apple about Retina being 300ppi. 326ppi of the iPhone is inferior.

    • Anthony Snyder

      It’s all about developer support.

  • GL1

    I sell phones and people are complaining because they think “its hard to read on the tiny iphone screen” but if this article shows what apple would do with the bigger screen it only means that youre going to see more at the same time and not actually better and this is understandable as having every UI element jumbo sized would look silly. But still people are expecting that bigger screen = easier to see/read which is ridiculous. I dont need to see more at the same time on the screen so a bigger screen is useless. If I need to watch movies on the go I’ll just get an iPad.

    • “But still people are expecting that bigger screen = easier to see/read which is ridiculous.”

      Sounds logical to me, and a simple option of resolution (like on Windows Tablet/Laptop/Desktop PCs) would be a win-win for all. Doubt Apple would make the right move there…they’re too proud to give options.

      • GL1

        If you look at the concept screenshots the font isn’t any larger… There is just more space on the screen.

      • Joseph A. Ahmad

        I can’t confirm that the settings application’s font is any bigger, but I can definitely see a bigger font set in the maps application; the last photo set in the article with the before and after photos, there is a clear difference. But I agree with you as well because this screen increase can be a real double edged sword… some developers may utilize the screen real estate by increasing different components of their applications, but others may simply show “more” of their applications. But don’t forget, with a bigger screen, increasing dynamic text won’t look AS silly as it appears on a 4″ screen, it will have more of the application showing while the text can be increased proportionately too. But I guess we’ll need to see the finished product first. And with iOS 8 imminent, we may see hints in the coding itself.

      • Yeah that’s the concept, doesn’t mean people’s expectations of “easier to see/read” are ridiculous…

      • Joshua Serna

        There is a option in settings to increase letter size….

    • Technocrz!

      this is very logical point, bigger screen means you have to zoom in to read, but still i need 4.7″ iPhone with proper proportion not the long one, I believe Nexus 5 has very nice proportion of screen and overall phone size.

      • John

        You don’t NEED, you WANT A 4.7″ iPhone.

      • Technocrz!


  • wonderboydave

    I bet one of the major issues was also software support. Probably some devs werent ready for the resolution change. Remember when the 5 came out, most of the 3rd party apps were cropped top and bottom not really utilizing the taller screen. Imagine if they did release a 5 inch or 6 inch phone back then, most apps would’ve been stretched out/pixelated and it took some app devs a full 3 months to get apps optimized. Apple’s reasoning back then was that they wanted a phone to fit in the hand perfectly, going for that ergonomic feel. Times have changed, most smart phones got bigger, and people were getting into that. My friends who owns a note or even a galaxy can’t even stand the small screen these days, I can’t blame them. Like the article said, Better late than never. I guess.

  • Bjarte Aatfjeld

    I prefer using my iPhone with one hand. 4″. For a lot of web browsing, I would rather use an iPad. I don’t need something in between, 4,7″ will be worse at both use cases.

    • Technocrz!

      I was on same boat but i had a chance to use Nexus 5 for sometime, i believe 4.7″ screen will be very useful, now i don’t like 4″ screen but more than 5″ will be real deal breaker for me.

  • procura

    …for more between apps space.

    • Vince Reedy

      Mine is too. It’s so ready.

    • flagged

  • Bkfraiders7

    “Should Apple add more rows and columns on the Home screen ” Honestly, I’d love for the icons to be a tad smaller, and add an extra column. Perhaps not as drastic as my homescreen now, but I love being able to have that 5th icon in the dock and being able to actually center my icons.

    • blu

      I have 5 columns on my iPhone 5 and love it. I can’t stand the large stock icons (I use bigify to make the icons a little smaller) and only 4 columns.
      Not that I want a 4.7″ phone.
      I really hope releases a new phone with the same size screen as the 5/5s along with the larger screen phones. I would think Apple would know a large amount of their user base sticks with the iPhone due to its smaller size.

    • Technocrz!

      I think they should decrease the size of icons little bit and shouldn’t add anymore row, in that case the home screen will look little less cluttered, although i manage my home screen pretty well but i need small icons.

    • DIesel

      God I missed gridlock! Wasn’t aware they updated it for ios 7 this made my day. Which tweak do you use for 5 icon rows?

  • @dongiuj

    Widgets on the home screen.

  • Am I right there is only 1 single rumor stating the 5.5″ will be delayed?

  • אביאור רוקח

    4.5″4.7″ the best screen for smartphone

  • Technocrz!

    I hate these big bezels on upper and lower side, the bezels should be like Nexus 5.

    • Meatloafers

      or G2 xD

  • Tnt4ever

    HEy Apple Consider dual sim phone this time .

  • Joshua Serna

    Personally I’m disappointed. I don’t think that there is a significant difference in having a phone slightly larger. In my opinion the iPhone 4S was the last perfect size phone with the exception of it could have been slightly thinner. However, I understand the market and how I fall on the short end of the stick with my opinion. I really love Apple’s iPhones one hand use campaign. Even now I’m sitting on a train watching a larger gentleman hold his galaxy something In one hand and using the other hand to text. It looks really uncomfortable. Hopefully they release an iPhone 6 and the 6 mini.

    • Anthony Snyder

      Disappointed…. in what? Nothing is out yet….

      If they have to make a 6 mini I think they failed pretty bad with the 6.

  • Meatloafers

    Bench are only numbers. You can’t prove anything there. And why my G2 is not included on the list? lol, if you haven’t used high end android phone like G2, don’t talk anything about battery or anything else. Don’t be sa apple fan boy. I have both(5s,G2), and because I like to compare, I know that 5s battery is not even close to my G2. That is why I gave it to my sister. Battery is not the stronger aspect of 5s, it is one of their problem. The stronger aspect of any iPhone even it is only dual core is its app optimization because they only have few screen sizes.

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  • Julio César

    A bigger iphone sounds interesting but, in my opinion, a 4.7 inch screen is too big. I think 4.5 is the perfect size to fit almost all hands. Completely taking away bezels and stretching out the screen a little more, closer to the listening microphone ( I don’t know if this is the right term) would probably accomplish this. I like using my phone with one hand and I think a 4.5 screen size should be the limit.

  • Meatloafers

    You can’t say bench proves something because others cheat. I prefer real life performance like watching idb or androidauthority vids on YT.