The next iPhone is all but guaranteed to have a 4-inch screen. The rumours long-speculated by pundits, confirmed yesterday by the Wall Street Journal, have now been corroborated by Reuters. The wire service claims to have “people familiar with the matter” who claim that Apple has ordered 4-inch screens from LG Display Co Ltd, Sharp Corp and Japan Display Inc.
The new screen size is seen by some as a move vital to Apple’s future success in the smartphone business, while others are sceptical that the device needs to get any bigger. High-end Android devices such as the recently-released 4.7-inch HTC One X and the coming-soon 4.8-inch Samsung Galaxy S III are now the norm, despite the fact that they are often difficult to use comfortably in one hand. The new iPhone, if it does increase to 4-inches, would be considered a middle ground and a compromise to those users who are enjoying more real estate on bigger Android phones.
It was recently announced that Android now has a controlling 56% of the world’s smartphone market share, and that number is increasing. But Apple maintains the vast majority of smartphone profits, with Samsung behind them at 25%.
Apple has a conundrum in its decision to increase screen sizes: does it maintain the same resolution and risk the “Retina” moniker from the iPhone 4 and 4S? Steve Jobs himself declared that a screen with a 300ppi pixel density is enough to be considered “Retina,” but a 4-inch iPhone with a familiar resolution of 960×640 would drop that number to 288ppi. Android devices, on the other hand, have recently matched and in some cases beaten that Retina-like density, by adding 1280×720 resolutions to their repertoire.
The other option would be to bring yet another resolution to the iOS family, forcing developers to once-again adopt a new iPhone resolution: the first was 480×320 and the second 960×640. To maintain a 3:2 ratio Apple would either have to increase the resolution to an astounding 1440×960 or risk existing apps not rendering properly.
Part of me thinks the whole thing is a bit of a send-up, since Apple has had no trouble selling 3.5-inch iPhones to the masses since the iPhone 3G was released in 2008. That’s not to say 3.5-inches is the ideal form factor — I have long maintained that the 4-inch size of the Nexus S was the perfect size for me — but if the public wants a larger iPhone, Apple should give it to them, right?
What do you think? Would you forsake your Android device for a 4-inch iPhone with LTE?