iPhone 5 rumored to have a bigger screen? Unlikely

Summary:If people wanted a smartphone with a jumbo screen, they'd be buying them in preference to the iPhone. They're not.

Rumors are circulating that Apple's next-generation iPhone will see the current 3.5-inch screen replaced with a 4.65-inch, putting it on par with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

I find this move unlikely for a number of reasons.

First, scaling up the current iPhone 4S 960×640 Retina display screen from 3.5-inch to 4.65-inch while keeping the same resolution would mean that the pixels per inch number would fall from 326ppi for the iPhone 4S to something in the region of 250ppi for a 4.65-inch screen.

That would be a huge drop in pixel density. It's unlikely that Apple would bump up the screen resolution to accommodate for the larger screen because this would introduce a whole host of scaling problems for existing apps.

Doubling the resolution of the iPhone's screen to 1920x1280 would make scaling easier. It's what Apple did when it went up to Retina display on both the iPhone and iPad. But it's highly unlikely that Apple could pull this sort of density off for the next incarnation of the iPhone. A screen like that would have a pixel density in the region of 500ppi, which would be incredibly dense.

A bigger screen means a bigger iPhone, and I covered why this is a bad idea in a post last week.

Apple might be able to bump the screen size up a big - say to 3.75-inch or 4-inch in size - and stick with the current resolution, but both would mean a drop in pixel density compared to the iPhone 4S. Having said that, at around 300ppi and 280ppi respectively, the screen would have a higher density than the new iPad.

There's another killer reason why Apple doesn't need to mess with the iPhone's screen in that the device is selling phenomenally well with the current screen size. If people wanted a smartphone with a jumbo screen, they'd be buying them in preference to the iPhone. They're not. There's a valuable lesson contained in that observation.

Why mess with something that sells so well?

Image credit: Apple.


Topics: Hardware, Apple, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones


Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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