Apple's Tim Cook 'rules out' iPhone 5 with 4-inch screen

Summary:Apple's chief executive Tim Cook appears to have poured cold water over suggestions the next iPhone will have a larger screen. Strangely, he outright said it. On air. Live.

Apple's chief executive Tim Cook has apparently ruled out may have hinted that the next-generation iPhone will not have a 4-inch screen.

He reportedly said, according to The Verge, speaking at the D:10 conference (emphasis mine):

"One thing is that we're not fragmented. Look at the percentage of users who upgraded to iOS 5. We have one App Store. We have one phone with one screen size, one resolution. So it's pretty simple if you're a developer."

And that was it.

Considering everything else he said was laced with subjectivity, it certainly came as surprise to me, only minutes after he said Apple would "double down on secrecy".

Interestingly, Cook's comments seem to have gone against Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, who both said the iPhone 5 would get a 4-inch screen "or more".

But this one has quietly irked me for a while.

All iterations of the iPhone has had the same screen size. They've had proportional screen resolutions so applications can scale up and down as per the Retina display in the iPhone 4 and 4S, but ultimately it looks the same. You don't have overhangs and naff looking applications that vary in size and shape across older versions of devices.

It's a one-size-fits-all policy. To use an Apple-ism: "it just works." There's no reason, however, why Apple can't roll out a "Retina-display killer" screen of the same dimensions and aspect ratio, as ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes explains.

"Small tweaks to the screen resolution or aspect ratio could break the way current apps are displayed, requiring developers to rewrite their apps to support the new screen."

I think one of the things people need out of the iPhone going forward --- and the iPad for business productivity --- is consistency. The design can change, the features can be added to and taken away, but screen-size is the killer focus of the device.

Application developers need to be able to keep writing for the same platform year after year, iteration after iteration, without having to return to the drawing board because a company wants to give developers more space to do stuff with.

Image credit: Sarah Tew/CNET.

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Topics: iPhone

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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