Larger and smaller iPhone screens make sense

Larger and smaller iPhone screens make sense

Summary: New rumors indicate that Apple may be considering larger and smaller displays for its iPhone line. It's high time that Apple diversify the iPhone and make it appeal to a wider audience.

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AppleInsider reports that Apple may be considering larger and smaller displays for its iPhone line. Above is a Gizmodo pre-iPad concept that could resemble Apple's larger-screen iPhone offering.

Kaufman Brothers analyst Shaw Wu citing sources familiar with sources in Apple's overseas supply chain states that the company is working on new iPhone models with both larger and smaller touchscreens. He said those products could launch in 2011, and on carriers other than the currently exclusive AT&T. Verizon Wireless has been long-rumored to be getting the iPhone with recent rumblings suggesting that it will finally happen January 2011.

Our sources believe these likely represent new high-end and low-end iPhone models to complement its current iPhone 4... One possibility we are picking up is a "mini" or "nano" iPhone with a smaller candybar form factor leveraging technology in its new mini touchscreen iPod nano.

Following is an older concept photo of what the iPhone mini or shuffle could look like:

While I don't think that the Apple offering will be quite as dramatic as the concepts above (the iPhone shuffle makes almost no sense) there's certainly a case to be made for diversifying the iPhone product lineup. The iPhone's 3.5-inch screen is a one-size-fits-all product that increasingly doesn't necessary fit the needs of the widest possible audience of mobile phone users.

A larger iPhone -- with say a 4.3-inch display -- could allow Apple to better compete with larger-screen Android handsets like the Droid X and Evo 4G. A larger-screen iPhone would also appeal to the high-end market and to users that view a lot of photos and videos as well as users with poor eyesight.

Apple could even differentiate the "high-end" iPhone model by offering it exclusively with a Retina Display -- obviously at a higher price.

A smaller, say 3.1-inch display, could arrive in an iPhone a couple of different ways:

It could end up in smaller form-factor iPhone (like the iPhone nano concept above) for users that prefer a smaller device. This would also allow Apple to offer a lower-price iPhone ($99, anyone?) that would appeal to price sensitive customers.

Alternatively, a smaller-screen could allow the iPhone to include a hardware keyboard (like the new Droid Pro) that could attack the Blackberry's sweet spot -- hardcore email users that demand a physical keyboard.

New iPhones are traditionally released in the summer, but Wu notes that progress is being made on these new models and they are rumored to be far enough along to arrive as soon as the first half of 2011 -- and even as early as the first quarter of next year.

What do you think? Would you prefer a larger or smaller-screen iPhone?

Images: Gizmodo and InformationArchitects

Topics: iPhone, Apple, Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones

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16 comments
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  • RE: Larger and smaller iPhone screens makes sense

    I still have NOT bought an iphone due 2 it not having certain features including a Larger Screen. I just bought the ATT Samsung Android (Captivate) phone. I bought it partially because of the 4" AMOLED Screen. Larry (Austin, TX)
    teeteebahbah
    • RE: Larger and smaller iPhone screens makes sense

      @teeteebahbah Just a little note: it's proven multiple that AM LCD currently still beats AMOLED (at least when we're talking about display quality and resolution). Apple has thus a very good reason not to use AMOLED yet. I'm sure that once AMOLED got better (there's still a lot of work to do!), Apple will ditch the AM LCD IPS display they're using for the iPhone. But that's what we call "technological evolution": we just have to wait?
      ctxppc
  • RE: Larger and smaller iPhone screens makes sense

    I think it's likelier that Apple is working on a touchscreen remote for the Apple TV. Will it also be a full iOS device is another question.
    Marcos El Malo
  • RE: Larger and smaller iPhone screens makes sense

    I don't think that the iPhone can get much larger than it is right now and still be confortably used as a phone. A larger device will be difficult to hold/handle as a mobile phone or to carry in your pocket, also due to the extra weight that will come with the larger form factor.
    A larger screen makes sense, not by making the device larger but by reducing the top and bottom ledges.

    A smaller iPhone would make much more sense. And I can even see many people using something close to an iPhone Shuffle (if Apple manages to make it practical to use), with a Bluetooth or wired ear phone.
    Joaquim Amado Lopes
    • RE: Larger and smaller iPhone screens makes sense

      @Joaquim Amado Lopes Were apple to create a smaller phone it would simply not be able to access the app store--a huge revenue stream for apple and developers alike.

      Reducing the size would make many if not most app interfaces completely unusable, as they already use every bit of the screen for tiny touch buttons.

      Also, reducing the size would make the on screen keyoard unusable--so goodbye email, text messaging, and even iTunes.

      The iPhone *IS* the app store, so I don't see any smaller screens coming at all. Ever.
      lelandhendrix@...
      • RE: Larger and smaller iPhone screens makes sense

        @lelandhendrix@...
        Most likely, a new form factor would expand iPhone's market to people who don't need so many features and would rather carry around a smaller and lighter device.
        And, if the size and weight differences were significant (iPhone Nano), many iPhone owners would seriously consider owning both.
        Joaquim Amado Lopes
      • RE: Larger and smaller iPhone screens makes sense

        @lelandhendrix@... Indeed, it's impossible. Imagine an iPhone with a keyboard the size of the iPod nano. That's just crazy. Or imagine a UI the size of the iPod nano. Just crazy.
        ctxppc
  • RE: Larger and smaller iPhone screens makes sense

    An iPad with 3G makes no sense, a larger iPhone does; 4.3 inches still fits in your jeans.
    npwgallagher
    • Could be you are right

      [Removed by writer]
      no_axe_to__grind
    • RE: Larger and smaller iPhone screens makes sense

      @npwgallagher
      Actually, an iPad with 3G would make much more sense for me than one without. Not that I would pay 700+ euros for one with 3G, plus the data plan.

      And the present size of the iPhone is 4.5x2.31" for a 3.5" display. To accomodate a 4.3" display and keep the top and bottom ledges, the device would have to "grow" significantly.
      Enough to make it difficult to fit in my jeans (and, size-wise, I'm "above average").
      Joaquim Amado Lopes
  • RE: Larger and smaller iPhone screens makes sense

    I guess most iPhone users don't need to make phone calls (especially on the iPhone 4) so a decent 4" media player interface would be nice - without having to lug around something the size of a netbook... A larger screen (with SD resolution) wouldn't go amiss on my iPod Touch 3G.... Means a larger keyboard (which is frankly unusable @3.5") and clearer video playback...
    Bob Wya
    • RE: Larger and smaller iPhone screens makes sense

      @robert_mt_walker@... Oh of course, take an issue that the media and haters have blown all out of proportion and preach it as pure gospel... I have NO issues making calls on my iPhone - in fact I get better reception on my iPhone with AT&T than I do with my VZW BB Curve 8530. This parroting of this overblown issue just gets really old.

      On the multiple screen sizes I could see that more for a line of iPod Touches than an iPhone line - the phone is really small enough IMHO and too much larger would make the device not as convenient to carry in one's pants pocket... although the Droid X is a pretty decent size but IMHO mobile smartphones should not be much bigger than that.
      athynz
  • RE: Larger and smaller iPhone screens makes sense

    The iPhone already has the ideal size: you can't get lower (it'll get unusable) and you can't get higher (it'll get not-so-mobile). Plus, Apple already has a relative with a bigger screen, the iPad. Plus, they'll start the same problems Android has: too many screen resolutions and possibly too many hardware configuration. iOS developers already have 3 different resolutions to take into consideration. I don't think Apple wants to make it even more difficult, at least not until 2014, when Apple probably ditches the last non-Retina iPhone/iPod touch.

    Even after that said, I'm not excluding the fact of giving a newer iPod nano the real stuff (iOS) and Wi-Fi and creating a new market for micro-applications. Why not make then an iPhone nano, basically the iPod nano with Bluetooth headset support and a 3G/4G radio. Or they'll just make the iPod nano able to connect to the iPhone/iPod touch/iPad and able to receive mini-notifications, like Caller ID, amount of unread messages, We Rule notifications, and so on.

    This is very confusing. It's a uncertain future.

    I should probably patent my idea. Whoops, too late!
    ctxppc
  • RE: Larger and smaller iPhone screens makes sense

    Enhancing the iPad is the way to go. Only morons and people with way too much capital can afford to put a miniature computer in their pocket. For Senior citizens the iPad is GREAT technology even those like Jay Leno, who LOVES his iPad. Too many people are currently ruining their credit with OVER the top Cell Phones which they DO NOT NEED in most cases.
    Mastermarketeer
    • Huh?

      @Mastermarketeer

      [i]Only morons and people with way too much capital can afford to put a miniature computer in their pocket.[/i]

      Ok I'll bite.
      How come only Morons can afford smartphones?
      And what is [i]too[/i] much capitol?

      [i]Too many people are currently ruining their credit with OVER the top Cell Phones[/i]

      Really? First I'm hearing of this epidemic. where can I find more info on this? I searched the internet but nothing showed up.

      Just curious.
      Tigertank
  • What I can see happening is . . .

    1) The iPod Touch "goes away", ie gets renamed iPad nano, or whatever.

    2) Apple comes out with an iPad Mini (the rumored 7" iPad you see pop up every once in awhile).

    3) The supposed iPad mini and the current iPad get iPhone "innards" to enable them to make calls (in a limited sense, and/or they both get a front facing camera like the new iPod touch so they can use facetime, skype, etc. This would let people do video calls from their home resting the larger unit on their lap or a stand.

    They could do all this without involving AT&T or Verizon, for the most part, and end up taking business from them in the process. A clear win for Apple . . . They could leave the iPhone alone at that point, and get a win/win out of it.
    JLHenry