A 4-inch iPhone 5

modilwar, The Verge Forums:

Colin’s idea was to keep the shorter side of the iPhones screen the same, i.e. 640 pixels at 1.94 inches. With that in mind how much would the longer side need to increase so the that diagonal measurement was 4 inches. The answer, derived using simple algebraic rearrangement of Pythagorus’s theorem, 1152 pixels and 3.49 inches. That leaves the the diagonal length measuring a little over 3.99 inches, I’m sure Apple PR could round this 4.

I have no idea what Apple is up to, but I have a hard time rationalizing why the good folks there would not maintain 960×640. Developers would hate it if Apple moved away from 960×640.

John Gruber:

Methinks “Colin” wasn’t merely guessing or idly speculating.

Combine that with this. Gruber on simplicity versus obviousness:

The tension is between simplicity and obviousness. Eliminating on-screen chrome is simpler, more elegant and beautiful. But Apple’s use of minimal but persistent on-screen chrome makes things more obvious.

Apple might allocate a total of 192 pixels for obviousness (1152 – 960 = 192). 96 pixels on top and the other on the bottom. The status bar can take up a part of that, the app title, etc. The obviousness portion of the app can be highly customized. This way developers get a full 960×640 for their apps.

Update 2012.05.17:

After rereading what I wrote above the extra 96 vertical pixels for obviousness would work only in portrait mode. Maybe Apple could implement an iPad-like differentiation between portrait and landscape modes. Take for instance Mail on the iPad: in portrait mode the menu pops out, in landscape mode you get an extra column. I could see how that type of differentiation could work on a wider iPhone. Reiji Murai, Reuters on a 4-inch iPhone display:

Early production of the new screens has begun at three suppliers: Korea’s LG Display Co Ltd, Sharp Corp and Japan Display Inc, a Japanese government-brokered merger combining the screen production of three companies.

I’m still not convinced Apple is increasing the size of the iPhone display from 3.5 inches to 4.

Apple’s decision to equip the next iPhone with a larger screen represents part of a competitive response to Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

And this type of reporting is one of the reasons why I question whether Murai and others really know anything about Apple’s next iPhone. To think if Apple is indeed moving to a larger display that the company is responding to Samsung’s huge displays on its smartphones is absolute nonsense.

Update 2012.05.22: 9to5Mac on pre-EVT prototypes floating around within the walls of Apple:

Both of these phones sport a new, larger display that is 3.999 inches diagonally. 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. That’s an extra 176 pixels longer of a display. The screen will be the same 1.9632 inches wide, but will grow to 3.484 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.

Why should the optimum aspect ratio of a smartphone be 16:9?

Update 2012.05.30: Eric Slivka, MacRumors:

Most notably, the “active area mask” corresponding to where the device’s display will be attached measures 90.1 mm (3.55 in) high and 51.42 mm (2.02 in) wide. This corresponds to an opening measuring approximately 4.08 inches diagonally, but iPhone viewable display areas have historically measured slightly smaller than their corresponding front panel openings. Consequently, this part would seem to nicely accommodate a display measuring 4 inches diagonally at an aspect ratio of roughly 16:9, in line with rumors of and evidence for a taller screen that maintains the width of the current model.

MacRumors was provided with a complete schematic of the next iPhone. Tim Cook better “double down on secrecy on products” if this schematic turns out to be the real thing.