4-inch, 16:9 iPhone concept video tackles how Apple might handle existing apps, content

If rumors are true and Apple announces a 4-inch, 16:9 iPhone 5 on September 12, it'll be interesting to see how it handles existing content and apps, including games. A couple of months ago, I spent some time making a ton of mock-ups to show how various interface elements might work. Now, MacRumors has put their take on it together for the video above.

Some of the answers are obvious. Content Apple controls, like the Videos app, will just work at 16:9, adjusting letter-boxing as appropriate. Third party apps already built for the current 3:2 screen, however, will likely get letter-boxed (vertically) or pillar-boxed (horizontally).

Updates to take advantage of the full screen will likely be simpler and faster for apps that use UITableView and UICollectView for lists and grids, and OpenGL for games, and likely more complicated and slower for apps that use a ton of custom, specifically sized and positioned interface elements. (AutoLayout in iOS 6 might help somewhat as well, if it's used.)

While Apple doubled the screen density of the iPhone display when it went from the standard iPhone 3GS to the @2X Retina display of the iPhone 4, moving to 16:9 would be the first aspect ratio change. Since the density won't change -- there'll instead be 1136x640 instead of 960x640 -- individual elements likely won't have to be redrawn the way they had to be in 2010, but the interface as a whole will still need some attention, especially by pixel-perfect designers.

Apple typically has at least a few, properly NDA'd developers up on stage at product announcements to show off samples of how new technologies look and work, so hopefully we'll see for ourselves come September 12.

Source: MacRumors

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

4-inch, 16:9 iPhone concept video tackles how Apple might handle existing apps, content


Well that definitely eased my skepticism a little bit... I'm still afraid it's gonna end up looking damn gawky, though.

I'm still wondering how this is going to feel in your hands. The iPhone 4/s feels perfect, but having a bigger screen will be nice. Just surprised that they only increased the screen size vertical and not horizontal, but by looking at the video above it looks like they made the right choice. 21 days and counting....

I really hope all these parts are fake that that that keep the same aspect ratio. Yes, increase the size of the screen but keep the ratio the same!

Going taller doesn't really give you an real advantage holding the phone upright; rotating it for widescreen gives that you extra quarter inch on both sides of the device.

And for developers to keep the packages small, it isn't worth it to update their apps for the new aspect ratio since majority of iPhone users would still be on the old ratio. it would be easier to just letterbox their apps and wait a year for another iphone to come out (5s) that also uses the new ratio.

It's looking pretty cool, cannot wait, anyone know the sound track playing in this video? Would make nice ringtone.

I believe the leaks will turn out to be accurate in that the "iPhone 5" will be longer but not wider. I need a larger, wider phone. This is why I finally caved and bought a Samsung Galaxy Nexus from Google Play and couldn't be happier. 1280 x 720 pixels on a 4.65" screen. A 1.2GHz dual-core processor that's snappier than the iPhone 4S and I'm loving it! I will still keep my carrier unlocked iPhone 4 as a backup phone and an iPod Touch but I finally get to drop the dreadful AT&T!

Where is it that you live which makes AT&T so dreadfully awfull?
This is just an honest inquiry because I'll be switching to AT&T when the next iPhone comes out and from what I hear, here in Miami AT&T as well as most major cities it is pretty reliable.