Apple is testing iPhone with larger display and widescreen ratio, report says

May 23, 2012
Tech

Rumors suggest that Apple intends to increase the screen size of its iconic iPhone device. A new report from 9to5Mac takes things one step further, claiming that Apple is increasing the length of the screen to create a 16:9 aspect ratio display. Currently, the screen of the iPhone measures 3.5 inches diagonally and has a […]

Rumors suggest that Apple intends to increase the screen size of its iconic iPhone device. A new report from 9to5Mac takes things one step further, claiming that Apple is increasing the length of the screen to create a 16:9 aspect ratio display.

Currently, the screen of the iPhone measures 3.5 inches diagonally and has a 3:2 aspect ratio. With the Retina display created for the iPhone 4, Apple has packed in a resolution of 640×960 pixels. According to 9to5Mac’s report, however, the next iPhone will measure 3.999 inches diagonally, and Apple intends to maintain the resolution quality of the Retina display by adding 176 pixels to accommodate the size change.

The report claims that the width of the iPhone display isn’t changing in the next iteration – it’ll remain at 1.963 inches. Instead, it’s the length Apple intends to change, making the screen taller: an increase to 3.484 inches tall. That’ll give the device a 16:9 ratio, akin to a widescreen television, and it’ll mean that widescreen videos will be able to play at their native aspect ratio on the iPhone without any difficulty. The new resolution of the screen will be 640×1136.

We’ve heard that Apple is testing multiple devices internally in Cupertino, and that they have different designs, but while 9to5Mac isn’t sure exactly which prototype Apple intends to bring to market, it believes that both the devices being tested will have larger screens. They’ll also continue to include a home button.

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The report also claims that Apple is testing iOS 6 builds that will take advantage of the extra real estate being added to the iPhone screen, adding additional app icons to the home screen and larger user interfaces that have more buttons.

What remains to be seen, however, is how the screen changes will affect iOS apps built for earlier iPhones. We’ve speculated before that Apple may allow developers a quick and easy way to adjust their apps to the larger screens without having to rework their aspect ratios or resolutions; it seems possible that Apple could give developers access to a generic menu or something similar that could reasonably fill the extra space on the iPhone screen without forcing apps to be totally remade.

Of course, who knows how Apple will handle a changed iPhone screen or what it might require of developers. But it’s becoming harder and harder to ignore the claim that the display size of the iPhone is about to grow.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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