Why iPhone 5 with 4.6-inch display is implausible

Although a release for the Apple iPhone 5 is at least several months away, many people want to hear all the rumors and leaks to try to ascertain what may eventually arrive. The latest rumor that has been widely reported is that it could have a huge 4.6-inch display but today we’ll give you a few reasons why that seems implausible.

As we pointed out yesterday when we told of the leaked display news, it’s true that many people have expressed desire for a larger screen for the iPhone 5 and it was widely expected already that it might be increased to a 4-inches display. However 4.6-inches just seems a step too far. It is also true that larger displays on smartphones are very much the current trend and many Android phones do feature a larger display but that doesn’t mean that everybody necessarily wants to carry around a larger handset.

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus for example has a 4.65-inch display while the Galaxy Note has a massive 5.3-inch display, although this is regarded by many as a hybrid smartphone/tablet. Even last year’s Samsung Galaxy S2 featured 4.3-inch display and there are rumors that it will be increased to 4.8-inches for the Galaxy S3. However the current iPhone, the iPhone 4S, has a vastly smaller display than many of the newer phones, at only 3.5-inches. A step up to 4-inches then may be plausible, but 4.6-inches? That would seem like a big leap to make from one iPhone iteration to another.

To be frank the iPhone 4S has realized phenomenal success, selling more units than anybody could have predicted so the fact that it has a smaller screen than many current smartphones doesn’t seem to have stopped the incredible demand for it. While we feel then that many consumers would like a slightly larger display for the iPhone 5 the more we think about it, the more unlikely it seems that Apple would make such a radical move to 4.6-inches.

As far as the technical aspects are concerned, an article on ZDNet makes some very valid points about why an iPhone 5 with a 4.6-inch display seems unlikely. The current Retina Display on the iPhone 4S gives a resolution of 960×460 and ZDNet notes that maintaining that resolution on a 4.65-inch screen would mean a drop in pixel density to 326ppi to around 250ppi, and that’s a drop that we don’t feel Apple would feel happy to compromise with. However the idea that Apple would attempt to increase the resolution instead also seems doubtful because many existing apps would then have scaling issues. If Apple did choose to bump up the resolution to 1920×1280 for example, that would give a density of 550 ppi and it’s highly questionable whether Apple could manage that.

We feel then that taking everything into account a 4.6-inch display for the iPhone 5 is improbable. It’s far more likely that the next iPhone may increase in size to 4-inches and that if the current vogue for larger screens continues, the following iPhone may step up in display size again. However a jump from 3.5-inches to 4.6-inches in one leap still seems implausible to us.

We’d really like to hear your views on this though to give us an idea of the general consensus, so let us have your comments. Would you like to see an increase to a 4-inch display for the iPhone 5 or maybe you’d appreciate a much bigger 4.6-inch display instead? Alternatively you may be perfectly happy with the current iPhone screen size?


3 thoughts on “Why iPhone 5 with 4.6-inch display is implausible”

  1. hibread says:

    I’d like to see Apple add another device to their line up rather than changing existing devices too much. 3.5in is probably perfection for many smart phone users, and the 9.7in iPad also great. But I reckon adding a hybrid to the mix around the 5-6in mark (edge to edge) would be a great addition

  2. Anonymous says:

    If Apple is going to quadruple the screen resolution to 1920 x 1280 they would need a display as big as 4.6 inches. In this case Apple would probably in addition have an iPhone with a 3.5 – 3.8 inch display with the current 960 x 640 resolution as well. I really hope the 4.6 inch display iPhone will be a reality, but only if it comes with that monster resolution!

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