iPhone 6 (Martin Hajek 011)

Virtually all of the rumors pertaining to Apple’s next iPhone center on its ultra-thin design and two screen sizes: 4.7 and 5.5 inches. But up until now, we were kept in the dark as to what screen resolution the larger 5.5-incher might have.

According to a new report by an informed blogger, the iPhone 6 will have a screen resolution of 1,704-by-960 pixels, a marked improvement over the current 1,136-by-640 pixels on the iPhone 5/5s/5c…

The 1,704-by-900 resolution is basically a tripled ‘base’ resolution of 568-by-320 pixels. Before the iPhone 5 came along, the iPhone 4 introduced us to the Retina resolution of 960-by-640 pixels, which itself is a pixel-doubled 480-by-320 resolution found on the non-Retina 3.5-inch original iPhone and the iPhone 3G/3Gs.

The release of the taller iPhone 5 in 2012 has yielded a slight vertical increase from 960 to 1,136 pixels in order to accommodate a fifth row if Home screen icons. The change meant the 568-by-320 resolution became a new ‘base’ resolution of the iPhone 5/5s/5c for developers.

How’s so? Easy, just multiply this base 568-by-320 resolution by a factor of 2 – both horizontally and vertically – and you’ll end up with the Retina-friendly 1,136-by-640 pixels of the iPhone 5/5s/5c.

Mark Gurman has allegedly learned from sources that the next iPhone will triple this base resolution, yielding a 1,704-by-960 pixel canvas for developers to work with.

Just like with the transition to the iPhone 4′s Retina display in 2010 and the transition to the iPhone 5′s taller screen in 2012, Apple is preparing major resolution changes for the iPhone 6 that will require software changes by both Apple and developers, according to people briefed on the specifications of the new device.

Even better, this new pixel-trippled resolution would retain the same 16:9 aspect ratio as the iPhone 5/5s/5c while falling under the Retina requirement of at least 300 pixels per inch.

iphoneschematicsscale
A 16:9 aspect ratio Home screen overlaid onto the leaked iPhone 6 schematics.

Specifically, assuming the pixel-trippling mode and the new 1,704-by-960 resolution, the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 would have a pixel density of 416ppi – or well above Apple’s 300ppi Retina requirement and easily topping 326ppi Retina iPhones.

A 5.5-inch iPhone would yield a pixel density of 356ppi.

The increased pixel density on both new iPhones would mean even crisper images, sharper text and sharper content overall compared to the current 326ppi Retina iPhones. And if history is anything to go by, Apple will update stock apps and iOS 8 so user interface elements appear as larger versions of their counterparts on the current iPhone display, as illustrated below.

Sources apparently told Gurman that developers will be able to optimize some apps to “better utilize the larger screen area”, much like Safari and Maps take advantage of the larger canvas to render more content on the iPhone 5/5s/5c.

Furthermore, Apple is said to be working on “optimizing all graphics across iOS to fit the new 3X mode, writes Gurman.

notificationcomparison-1

Despite the purported new resolution introduction, adapting existing apps to take advantage of both the larger form factor and the increased pixel count should not require a major effort. Apple now provides a robust set of tools that let developers create dynamically adapted, resolution-agnostic interfaces.

Apps that are not optimized for the iPhone 6’s new resolution mode could simply fill the entire screen by enlarging vector graphics elements. Of course, any bitmaps enlarged this way would appear blurrier unless developers add a 3x larger version to their binaries.

Apple has conveniently been working on a new ‘multi-resolution’ mode and developer toolset for future iOS devices to ease these form factor transitions.

“It is likely that developers will be provided with these tools later this year so that they can begin work on optimizing apps (if even necessary) for the new iPhone’s display,” writes the author.

It’s fairly safe to assume that Apple will phase out all non-Retina devices come this Fall, namely  the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s. This would make the iOS device lineup all Retina, meaning developers would need to provide two sets of graphics assets in their iPhone apps: one targeting the 1,136-by-640 iPhone 5/5s/5c and higher-resolution assets for the sharper 1,704-by-960 iPhone 6 screen.

Your take?

  • Leonard Wong

    I just hope they don’t continue the trend and place two black borders.

    • Kieran.Lillis

      If the aspect ratio is staying the same, that won’t happen

      • Shuvam

        But what will happen is that we will all end up with either pixellated screens or small black borders on all four sides…

      • Kieran.Lillis

        Yes, that’s the problem. hopefully developers will update their apps in order to support the new resolution, just as they updated their apps to fit the iPhone new screen size

      • Shuvam

        yes.. however, i hope that they do it faster than last time… i mean they get almost 2-3 months of beta testing before the public even gets hands on a finalised product running iOS 8… i know, its not an easy task, but just imagine a world where you buy a bigger phone and the moment you start using it, there is this seamless continuity from last gen… so cool, but it will remain a dream.. (sigh!)

  • mahe

    The picture comparing the resolutions is a bit misleading because the new models not only have a higher res, they have more ppi too …

  • AndroidDogHeatandSteelersFan

    My storage! and most importantly…. Battery Life?

    • Capirexz

      32gb , 64gb , 128gb would be nice.

      • Marcus Winchester

        Well we already have 32GB and 64GB so I’m guessing you mean you want this to be the new memory tier and I agree. I get angered when I see a phone with 16GB or even a tablet with 16GB. It’s not enough and it never will be. 64GB should be the standard and the cloud will never be the actual solution we hope for because we lose control

      • Capirexz

        Yes.

  • Omar Ruiz

    Will this be 1080p compatible or still 720p?

    • Andy

      It’s in between 720p (1280×720) and 1080p (1920×1080). At 1704×960, it’s a lot higher than 720, but also not quite 1080 yet.

      • Creavite

        This is not far from 1080p, and because of the very high PPI (which you do not get on a PC screen) there will be no way to see the differences between that and a full HD display the same size.

      • Kurt

        Get educated. I’ll teach you how. Go take your inferior 326ppi phone and compare it to a phone that has higher ppi. I have my iphone and my Note 3 and I can clearly see the note 3 is sharper. It’s more noticeable on 441ppi screens. Note 3 is around 380ppi (I forget exactly).

      • 空白

        Get educated. Don’t be a hater.

      • Cameron Chao

        you arent seeing sharpness, you are just seeing a better quality screen, in which note 3 is known to have. Retina is for a reason, unless your put your face an inch from the phone then maybe, just maybe you will notice the sharpness of the note 3 as compared to an iphone.

      • Kurt

        Take a look at font on an iphone. not that sharp as a 1080p screen with much higher ppi. You can see the difference at normal distance.

    • Franck Kamayou

      1080p just means 1920×1080 progressive scan… if you play 1080p content on a 416ppi 1704×960 screen, it should be the same or look the same as a 416ppi 1920×1080 screen.

  • Envisu

    Still lagging behind. Still can’t hit 1920×1080 Real HD. SMH. Took them 7 version of iOS just to add toggles.

    • Guest

      “the most advanced mobile operating system in the world” lol yeah ok apple

      • James Gunaca

        I think PPI is more important than hitting a resolution of 1920×1080. My 47″ TV is 1920×1080 which is less than 50 ppi. So 1920×1080 doesn’t matter as much.

      • Kieran.Lillis

        The operating system has nothing to do with screen resolution

    • eXoguti093

      You mean FHD, HD is 720, and HD+ is 1600×900, which this is just over, go away nub-.-

    • 空白

      It’s no use debating with people that are set in their ways. This blog is for Apple fans not Android fans looking to do whatever they can to hate.

      • Kurt

        Good one teenybopper

      • 空白

        Lol, you’re too much. That word is so out bro it makes me wanna call you an old fart.

  • XboxOne

    it’s 2014, we want 1080p at least Apple!

    • omrishtam

      i would be suprised if you notice any differance between 1704×960 and 1080p on a 5.5′-6′ screen.

      • JayDee917

        I think it could be possibly be just slightly noticeable on 5.5-6″ screen. But definitely not on a 4.7″

  • Ahmed Karoui

    Last paragraph: iP4 and iP4s both have Retina Displays!

    • Rowan09

      Probably won’t support IOS 8 so the 5c would take it’s place.

  • Juan Genao

    Wait, so what’s the resolution on the 4.7 going to be?

    • JayDee917

      Same as the 5.5″

  • afra33

    The bezel is too f**** thick on these drawings! I hope they are fake! I thought Apple was going to reduce the bezel thickness??

  • Frank Ding

    STILL no 1080p?

  • Creavite

    You won’t see the difference between that and a 1080p display the same size. If you can barely see pixels in a 326ppi display today, you won’t see any pixels in a 416ppi display, so why bothering adding more pixels? just so it will say “it is 1080p”? you will literally not see the differences, and the phone will require to light up less pixels, that means better battery life.

    • Kurt

      You are so wrong. There is a big difference between how sharp a 326ppi is and 416ppi. You have no idea what you are talking about. There is a noticeable difference.

      • Creavite

        You missed my point, I meant you won’t see the differences between a 416 PPI display and a display with a higher PPI than that the same size

  • David Gitman

    still no FHD? Dafuq Apple

  • amazingrugs

    The resolution mockup feels so wrong. I can’t imagine them magnifying every UI element to fill more space. You think they’re going to use fonts that big? This would look awful and cheap.

    One question I haven’t seen asked yet is how Apple will use the space now available to them? We’ve seen good innovation from Samsung with multi window support. Getting a bigger screen isn’t good enough anymore. They need to show what new features this will add.

    More food for thought is what the possible 5.5 inch iPhone will bring to the table. Again, going bigger isn’t enough. I’m not a big fan of them, but to me Samsung has led the way in showing what benefits a larger screen can bring to the end user with features like S-Pen.

    We’ve all been pining for a bigger screen (even though a lot of us jealously made fun of Android devices getting bigger and bigger), so hopefully Apple will bring their A game.

  • n0ahcruz3

    That bezel!

  • AlbertGomez

    Where is the “my body is ready” picture?

  • n0ahcruz3

    Apple iPhone isnt HD but the battery life still sucks. What more if its qHD? ;P

  • Urname

    You do realize that the iPhone 4 and 4S are both Retina devices right?

    • Wayne Wilson

      +1

  • James Gunaca

    My point is that the 1920×1080 dimension isn’t really a big deal. PPI is the better metric in terms of how it looks, not to mention screen quality and pixel power – which is why Apple’s displays constantly beat out other manufacturers despite not confirming to a certain dimension.

    • Franck Kamayou

      @jamesgunaca:disqus gets it.

  • 空白

    Number chasing. I don’t really care either way personally as long as videos are crisp. I’m not gonna stress and put my phone an inch from my face and declare it paltry.

  • mynamesuxlol

    What people are getting at is that we must have a true HD resolution on our phone screen thus videos are pixel for pixel or something? You’d never tell the difference. What apple is doing here is a very smart way to go about upgrading resolution and keeping solid compatibility! Why does the number matter when it all comes down actually using your phone daily. If all existing iPhone apps upscale very well and can be easily equipped with higher resolution support with imgs@3x rather than trying to incorporate an entirely new image dimension non-linear to it’s smaller versions. I feel that this would be the smarter and efficient route to go about increasing screen resolution on the iPhone. Apple knows what they’re doing.

  • Dj Stef

    Last paragraph: iPhone 3 and below were non-retina. iPhone 4 and 4s were non-tall so to speak. They had the 3:2 ratio screens. Tall = 16:9

  • Benjamin J Schwartz

    All this talk about graphic assets being written for a 568×320 base, but that simply isn’t true. Heck, iOS7 doesn’t