How Apple Could Make the Move to 4.7" iPhone Displays

Amidst the flurry of iPhone 6 rumors coming from KGI Securities' report last week, Ming-Chi Kuo presented the first possible screen resolution for Apple's 4.7" iPhone 6. Kuo lists it as a 1334x750 Retina display with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch.

Historically, Apple has been very cautious with resolution changes in their iOS devices. The original iPhone was launched with a 320x480 resolution. Eventually, Apple moved to 640x960 Retina display, doubling the linear resolution in each dimension. That allowed existing apps to simply be pixel-doubled to fill the entire screen. Developers could then take their time to update their apps to fully support the higher resolution display. When Apple moved from 3.5" to 4" screens in the iPhone 5, they simply added vertical resolution. This allowed existing apps to run in a letterboxed format with black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.

iphone-screen-sizes
Relative iPhone display sizes by Redtech

Right before the 4" iPhone releases, Apple began encouraging developers to use AutoLayout in designing their apps:

Auto Layout is a system that lets you lay out your app’s user interface by creating a mathematical description of the relationships between the elements. You define these relationships in terms of constraints either on individual elements, or between sets of elements. Using Auto Layout, you can create a dynamic and versatile interface that responds appropriately to changes in screen size, device orientation, and localization.

AutoLayout paves the way for apps to more easily adapt to changes in display sizes and resolution in the future.

If Apple were to adopt a 1334x750 4.7" display as predicted by Kuo, it would preserve the same pixel density (326 ppi) as the iPhone 5s. That means that all existing user interface elements, such as icons, would be the same size but would allow for more screen space.

Our designer found that using the exact same icons and spacing them out to fill the screen, 1334x750 pixels allows Apple to fit exactly one extra row of icons onto the iPhone home screen. This mockup shows the relative size of the 4.7" iPhone screen and how much extra room there would be using the exact same icons as on the current iPhone:

iphone5s-64" home screen (left) vs 4.7" home screen (right)

Meanwhile, existing unoptimized apps could function in a "letterbox" style with black borders for unused screen space. TheVerge forum user Pi is exactly 3 created a mockup showing this exact scenario. This image shows how an "unoptimized" app would appear (left) compared to one that has been optimized for the 4.7" display (right):

settingsMockup by Pi is exactly 3

Given Apple's past reluctance to blur or break existing apps, it seems that this resolution choice could provide Apple and developers a reasonable upgrade path for a larger factor iPhone. Apple has acknowledged that customers want larger iPhones and all iPhone 6 rumors are pointing to a larger iPhone device this year.

Top Rated Comments

lars666 Avatar
106 months ago
Another row! Yeah!
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
green tea Avatar
106 months ago
but Apple and all the fan boys said 3.5" is the perfect size :D
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iCore24 Avatar
106 months ago
I still think they will double the iPhone 5s resolution, 326 ppi on a 4.7" is good but is not future proof. If they make a bigger iPhone in the future like 5" it would have around only 300 ppi, then will need to get ANOTHER resolution change! I talk about this in detail in a thread I made if your interested.
https://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1699542

The iPhone can also handle the higher resolution, just look at the Retina iPad Mini, same specs and much higher resolution.

And they better come up with something more productive and creative to take up the extra space on the iPad and the iPhone 6 with IOS 8. The iPad just got the hand me down features the iPhone got on IOS 7, The iPad needs features that take advantage of the huge landscape,
Split screen? Widgets? Live larger icons? SOMETHING!!!!!
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arian19 Avatar
106 months ago
that letterbox looks terrible...
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tiger8 Avatar
106 months ago
that letterbox looks terrible...

would look even worse if the graphics are stretched and blurred
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Skika Avatar
106 months ago
Just horrible as an Apple phablet. That's a mistake if it ever is made. So many Apple phablet rumours these days. We have 2 options:

1. The rumours are all wrong. No harm done.
2. Apple will make the mistake of making an Apple phablet.

If No.2 happens I will be upset. I want to buy an iPhone 6 maybe. But if Apple only releases the iPhablet 6 then I'll be forced to buy old tech or stick with my iPhone 1.

And making both an iPhone 6 and an iPhablet 6 is a no go as well. Apple already have enough SKUs. Too many is what ****ed Apple up in the 90s. No going and repeating that all over again.

Apple is on the cusp of me not buying the iPhablet 6 (or any iPhones anymore). Even though I do like the iPhone line, I don't want to buy a phablet.

Whatever dude nice rant but 4,7 is not a phablet especially if they make a clever design not even close.

Try again.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 16 mock for article

Gurman: iOS 16 to Include New Ways of System Interaction and 'Fresh Apple Apps'

Sunday May 15, 2022 6:14 am PDT by
iOS 16 will include new ways of interacting with the system and some "fresh Apple apps," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has said, offering some more detail on what Apple has in store for the upcoming release of iOS and iPadOS set to be announced in a few weeks at WWDC. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman wrote that while iOS 16 is not likely to introduce a major face-lift to...
maxresdefault

Unbox Therapy Shares Hands-On Look at iPhone 14 Pro Max Replica

Monday May 16, 2022 4:40 am PDT by
YouTuber Unbox Therapy has shared a hands-on look at the iPhone 14 Pro Max using what he claims is a one-to-one replica created by third-party case makers with access to detailed schematics and dimensions for Apple's new upcoming flagship smartphone. As with the iPhone 13 Pro lineup, in 2022, we are expecting a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, but this time the Pro...
RIP iPod Feature

RIP iPod: A Look Back at Apple's Iconic Music Player Over the Years

Friday May 13, 2022 2:25 pm PDT by
Apple earlier this week announced the discontinuation of the iPod touch, and because it was the last iPod still available for purchase, its sunsetting effectively marks the end of the entire iPod lineup. To send the iPod on its way, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the most notable iPod releases over the last 21 years. Original iPod (2001) Introduced in October...
macOS Monterey 2

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.4 With Support for Studio Display Webcam Update

Monday May 16, 2022 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.4, the fourth major update to the macOS Monterey operating system that launched in October 2021. macOS Monterey 12.4 comes over two months after the launch of macOS Monterey 12.3, an update that added Universal Control. The ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Monterey‌‌ 12.4 update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System...
iOS 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 With Wallet and Podcast Updates

Monday May 16, 2022 10:00 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5, the fifth major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were initially released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.5 come a little over two months after the launch of iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4. The iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in...
airpodsprodesign

Kuo: AirPods, MagSafe Battery Pack, and Other Apple Accessories Also to Switch to USB-C in Future

Sunday May 15, 2022 5:59 am PDT by
Earlier this week, well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that Apple plans to release at least one iPhone 15 model with a USB-C port in 2023. Now, in a follow-up tweet, he has claimed that accessories like AirPods, the MagSafe Battery Pack, and the Magic Keyboard/Mouse/Trackpad trio would also switch to USB-C in the "foreseeable future." Both the iPhone and all of the aforementioned...
apple tv 4k design green

Apple Releases tvOS 15.5 for Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K

Monday May 16, 2022 9:57 am PDT by
Apple today released tvOS 15.5, the fifth major update to the tvOS operating system that first launched in September 2021. tvOS 15.5 comes more than two months after the release of tvOS 15.4, an update that brought support for captive WiFi networks. tvOS 15.5 can be downloaded over the air on the Apple TV through the Settings app by going to System > Software Update. ‌‌‌‌‌‌Apple...