While a number of credible reports (from Reuters, WSJ, and Bloomberg) all seem to agree that Apple’s next iPhone will include a larger 4-inch display, a new report claims to provide additional details, claiming that Apple is indeed testing two prototypes (backing iMore’s claim that the design for the next iPhone isn’t finalized) with larger 3.95-inch displays.
We know of two next-generation iPhones in testing with a larger display: the iPhone 5,1 and iPhone 5,2. These phones are in the PreEVT stage of development and are codenamed N41AP (5,1) and N42AP (5,2). Because Apple reserves certain models for internal-only usage (such as the N96 phone we previously reported on), we’re not sure which of the two devices will make its way into the world later this year.
While it already seemed likely that the next iPhone would feature a 4-inch display, what’s interesting about today’s report is how the size will be increased – by stretching out the display and adding an extra 176 pixels to its height. This lines up with a previous report from iLounge, who first suggested that the next iPhone may have a taller display. The concept above (image via MacRumors) illustrates what this might look like.
[…] Apple will not just increase the size of the display and leave the current resolution, but will actually be adding pixels to the display. The new iPhone display resolution will be 640 x 1136. [..] The screen will be the same 1.94 inches wide, but will grow to 3.45 inches tall. This new resolution is very close to a 16:9 screen ratio, so this means that 16:9 videos can play full screen at their native aspect ratio.
If Apple does indeed choose one of these designs for the next iPhone, it would mark the first time Apple has changed the aspect ration of the iPhone’s display. While this would allow the iPhone to natively play 16×9 video files, it would also pose a significant challenge to developers, who would likely have to significantly redesign their apps for the new display.
We’ve discussed the notion of a taller 4-inch iPhone display in the past, noting that such a design would not only force developers to redesign their apps, but also that it may lead to fragmentation problems for the iPhone. Apps for the new taller iPhone screen would be unlikely to work correctly on previous iPhones, including the 4S, and many developers may not feel inclined to create two versions of their app for the varying iPhone screen sizes.
The report also notes that the prototypes both feature a smaller dock connector that’s “between the size of a Micro-USB and Mini-USB connector.” Apple is also reportedly working on a version of iOS 6 for the new displays that will add a fifth row of icons to the homescreen, and which will extend the interface of Apple’s built-in apps.
9to5Mac has a very respectable track record regarding the iPhone, and Apple rumors in general. These are still just prototypes, however, and considering that the next iPhone isn’t expected until this fall, Apple still has plenty of time to change their minds – and I, for one, hope they do.
Changing the aspect of the display just doesn’t seem to make much sense, especially considering the problems it could cause for the iOS ecosystem.