Imagining a 5-inch iPhone 6

Imagining a 5-inch iPhone 6

Never mind rumors of an awkwardly named 4.8-inch "iPhone Math", the concept of a much larger iPhone has been floating about ever since the realities of early LTE chipsets -- and the batteries that came with them -- forced Android and Windows-based competitors to break the size barrier. Before the 16:9 iPhone 5 was announced, I examined some of the different ways Apple could go to 4-inches. More recently, following the launch of the iPad mini and the Droid DNA, I took a quick look at how Apple could achieve a 1080p+, 440ppi+ phone, one that would sit between 4-inches and 7.9-inches.

But it's worth a deeper look. Because, when you're dragging hundreds of millions of users, hundreds of thousands of developers, and hundreds of... hundreds of accessory makers behind your platform, it makes turning on a dime hugely problematic. Small, incremental steps, with adjustment periods after each, is the prudent way to go. And that's exactly how Apple has handled the iPhone so far.

Update: How Apple could scale iOS to 5-inches

Apple introduced the now-standard 1x pixel density, 3.5-inches at 480x320 and 163ppi, with the original iPhone in 2007. They introduced the Retina 2x density, 3.5 inches at 960x640 and 326ppi, with the iPhone 4 in 2010. They introduced the 16:9 aspect ratio, 4-inches at 1136x640 and 326ppi, with the iPhone 5 in 2012. If -- an it's a big if, no pun intended -- Apple intends to offer a larger screen alternative one day, it makes sense they'd do it in the same way. Let everyone get used to 16:9, let developers update their apps and accessory makers update their products, and then take the next step. Whether that's in 3 years like the switch to Retina, or 2 years like the switch to widescreen, or 1 year if acceleration continues, keeping things grounded as you push previous limits, and balancing stability with change, is how you move a platform forward.

I still believe 2013 needs to be more about iOS and iCloud than new hardware, but putting that aside, and asssuming we've not seen the last or the largest iPhone screen Apple ever makes, what steps could they take to get to 5-inches?

5-inches at 2x

5-inch iPhone mockup with a hand for scale

The first way Apple could go to, or at least get closer to, 5-inches is simply by increasing the physical size of the current iPhone 5 display and keeping the 1136x640 pixel count the same. That would result in larger pixels, however, meaning lower pixel density.

At 4 inches, the the 1136x640 iPhone 5 has the same pixel density as the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, or 326ppi. What happens if you stretch that out close to 5-inches? Interestingly, it goes to 264ppi. That's the pixel density of the Retina iPad. It's a density Apple already manufacturers, much like the shrunken iPad mini display was also a density Apple already manufactured, the 163 ppi of the original iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS.

Retina is a function of pixel density at distance. That's why, from 10-feet away, a reasonably sized 1080p television looks "Retina", and why the 264ppi iPad 4 looks as good from your lap as the 326ppi iPhone 5 does from your hand. Similarly, a 5-inch phone wouldn't need to be held as closely as a 4-inch phone. So, while it would certainly lose sharpness, there'd be some mitigation.

Developers and designers wouldn't have to create any new graphical assets to support a 5-inch iPhone at 264ppi. However, it would increase the size of existing interface, text, and other pixel-based on-screen elements and touch-targets, which could make them overly, borderline comically, large. (Except for people with visual accessibility issues who currently find the iPhone's interface elements and text too small to read comfortably.)

For videos and games, a scaled up screen is a plus. You could even shrink down a website or photo smaller to see more if it at the same physical size. Unlike to switch to the iPhone 5's 16:9 screen, however, there aren't any additional pixels. You're getting bigger, not more.

Going to 5-inches while staying at 2x could work, especially considering the step-by-step approach Apple's taken so far, but it's not ideal

5-inches at 3x

That's an example of, from left to right, of what happens when a display goes from standard, to Retina, has its size changed, or gets scaled by a non-integer amount (i.e. 1.5x). As you can see, it's fine in all cases but the last. That's the reason Apple went to 2x for Retina and not some arbitrary size -- it allowed them to maintain as much app compatibility as possible. When 1 standard size pixel becomes 4 Retina pixels (2x in each direction) everything still falls "on the grid" and stays nice and sharp.

Arguably, as densities get high enough, and displays far away enough, you no longer notice the blurring. But phones aren't held at arms length like a Retina MacBook Pro. If Apple wants to go closer to 5-inches, and add more pixels to do it, it makes sense they'd stick with multiples of the original screen size. So, after 2x, we have 3x. After 1136x640, we have 1704x960 which at roughly 5-inches is 391ppi. That's more pixels than 720p, and well past Retina.

Just like when Apple switched from 1x to 2x, a switch from 2x to 3x would mean developers and designers would need to create new @3x assets for their apps. Depending on how many graphics are in an app, that can be a lot of work.

The benefit is that you're not just getting bigger, you're getting more. Small text continues to look great, and when you zoom out, details on web pages or photos are still crisp.

On the downside, the more pixels you have, the more graphics power you need on the chipset to drive them, and the denser they get, the more LED you need to punch through and light them. That means more battery to drive them, and that's the reason the iPad mini isn't Retina.

Granted 1704x960 isn't 2048x1536 like the Retina iPad, but few people would want an iPhone anywhere nearly as thick and heavy as the Retina iPad either. (At least as it exists now...)

Going to 5-inches and increasing density to 3x feels like a double-step, but if the technology is in place to do it at the right lightness and thinness, it could also be the best compromise.

5-inches at 4x

That's how the various 5-inch iPhone options look when you compare them both in terms of pixel count (top) and physical scale (bottom), with an iOS standard touch-target grid overlay (44px). From left to right, the iPhone 5 (black), theoretical iPhone @3x (purple), theoretical iPhone @4x (red), theoretical iPhone with iPad display @2x (blue), with the HTC Droid DNA 1080p (green) thrown in for good measure.

Yes, HTC has made 1080p (1920x1080) phones at 440ppi, which while positively pornographic, show what's already out and on the market. If Apple decides it wants to exceed that the way the original Retina display exceeded other panels at the time, they'd have to skip 3x and go straight to 4x -- 2272x1280 at 522ppi.

It would require even more graphics processing power, more light, and more battery, and it would be absolutely batshit insane, but hey, we're considering all options here.

Going to 5-inches at 4x probably isn't something within the current realms of technology, economics, or reason, however.

5-inches using the iPad mini display

5-inch iPad mockup

While I won't call them phablets -- or tablones -- devices that blur the boundary between phone and tablet continue to be released. However, they're typically larger than 5-inches. 5.5-inches and now 6-inches are the norm. Also, unlike the iPhone 5, which has a 16:9 aspect ratio, and previous iPhones, which had 3:2 aspect ratios, the iPad has a 4:3 aspect ratio. In other words, it's wide. 1024x768 at 5-inches works out to 256ppi. If it were technologically possible cram a 2x iPad Retina display in there, 2048x1356 at 5-inches works out to 512ppi.

On the plus side, it would unify the app ecosystem and let the iPhone run iPad apps. On the minus side, if an iPhone interface starts to look ridiculously large at 5-inches, an iPad interface would be ridiculously, likely unusably, small at that same size. Existing iPhone apps, letterboxed, would probably be okay if they filled something close to their current 4-inch size. iPad apps would be another story entirely. The iPad mini is probably represents the bottom end of tap-target size, and shrinking from 7.9 to 5 would necessitate a stylus. The size of a toothpick.

Going to 5-inches by switching to an iPad display is a non-starter.

5-inches at some arbitrary or standardized pixel count

Other options include Apple switching from the traditional iPhone screen size, and its more modern multiples, to something arbitrary -- keeping the same 326ppi and just adding pixels to fill 5-inches -- or switching to a standard display size like 720p or 1080p.

To hit 5-inches at 326ppi, Apple would need to go to 1420x800 for the iPhone display size.

720p translates into 1280x720 and at 5-inches, that's 294ppi. 1080p translates into 1920x1080 and at 5 inches, that's 441ppi.

Neither approach seems to offer Apple any advantage over pixel trebling or even quadrupling, would result in scaled apps and interface elements falling off the grid and looking fuzzy, and create huge compatibility headaches in general for Apple, developers, and users.

Going to 5-inches at some arbitrary on standardized pixel gives you some of the benefits but all of the drawbacks and also seems like a non-starter.

4.5- or 4.8-inches

If Apple considers a screen size of 4.5- or 4.8- instead of 5-inches, the basic premises stay the same. Either way, if Apple stays at 2x, interface elements wouldn't be blown up as much at 4.5- or 4.8- as they would at 5-inches, nor would density decrease as much. At 4.5-inches the current 1136x640 display would be 290ppi, and at 4.8-inches it would be 272ppi. 3x would be 435ppi or 408ppi. 4x would be a silly 560ppi or 543ppi.

Given that, going to 4.5- or 4.8-inches could be a more reasonable alternative to 5-inches.

Yeahbuwhy?!

Apple has said as recently as the iPhone 5 introduction that they don't want to make a screen that the average person can't reach, corner-to-corner, with the thumb of one hand. And just like never making video iPods, or 7-inch tablets, Apple absolutely means that. Until they don't. That's why you can never say never with Apple.

For the sake of this discussion, lets assume there's a larger screen iPhone in the labs or sketched out on a napkin, or something. One handed ease of use is a feature that can be tackled in both hardware and software. Right now Apple's handling it in hardware. BlackBerry 10 will be tackling it in software, using corner gestures to allow for more navigation with less thumb travel. (Apologies for the gobsmacking cheesiness of this video, it's the only BlackBerry Flow example I could find.)

Apple's a really smart software company. If they ever go to 5-inches, they'll figure it out. (Hell, they'll invent it. But will they ever go to 5-inches? Not surprisingly, the go-to-market for a bigger iPhone echo and mirror those for a smaller iPad. From my previous post:

[For some customers, 4-inch iPhone] still isn't big enough.

For some of those, size sells. Imagine you walked into a Big Box retailer and all the television sets, from 32- to 70+-inches all cost pretty much the same thing. Imagine the 70+-inch television, or even the 102-inch television, cost less than the 32-inch one. Thanks to carrier subsidies and agendas, that's the current situation for the iPhone. Customers walk into carriers or retailers and see the $199 iPhone on the shelf alongside 4.5- to 5-inch or bigger Android phones and Windows Phones. Bigger equals better, so they buy bigger.

For the rest, size matters. Either their eyes require bigger interface elements to easily use, their motor skills appreciate more room to move around, or they simply want a bigger screen to do bigger things with. Bigger web. Bigger videos. Bigger games. They might even want something approaching mini-tablet size, and would rather have a big phone than a small phone and a tablet. Bigger is better, so they buy bigger.

For both, even if they'd prefer an iPhone in many ways, the screen size is what they see, or what's more important to them than anything else. And because of that, neither of those customers is choosing the iPhone.

Or more simply put, if people are buying massive amounts of premium large-sized handsets, Apple could one day decide they'd rather those people buy premium Apple-made large-sized handsets than competing brands. If Apple sees value in increasing the scope of their addressable market, and thinks it will help them make a better product and sell more units, then that's why Apple would add a bigger iPhone to the mix.

And that's when as well.

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs iPhone 5 vs Nokia Lumia 920 vs. BlackBerry Dev Alpha vs. 5-inch iPhone vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 2

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Imagining a 5-inch iPhone 6

136 Comments

True. But more specifically, it's the best screen for one-handed use. Even the thickness of the 4 and 4S creates better stability for one hand use. I struggle with my iPhone 5, about 50% of the time I must use two hands. (I wear size large men gloves.)
I think Apple should concentrate on the iOS. For example, the iTunes store and App store are inconsistent (look where Genius is located in both), settings are inconsistent (locate your AppleID in Messages & Facetime), and iTunes still have consistency issues (Apply vs Sync vs Done). The iOS should also include a toggle for warnings, "Your device has not been backed up for 3 months, you risk losing your contact information & text messages.", or "You have music on your device that is associated with 2 AppleIDs", and so on.

I have a gs3 i use one handed with and i wear Mens medium... I can youch all 4 corners with my thumb. depends on how you hold a phone....

i dont buy that. i use an iphone 4s and i wear a large glove, i can reach exactly to the opposite top corner with my thumb on it. using my boss's gs3 i can reach about 3/4 of the way, and prefer using 2 hands. if you were holding it any other way, the base of your thumb would be touching the screen.

But, there is also a mentality that a phone is, in fact, a phone... and it should fit in your hand and pocket. Your line or logic will eventually have phones bigger than tablets. 3.5 to 4" IS the best size for a phone, because I don't WANT a phone to be huge. I used to have one of those bag phones. I want a small phone with the biggest screen the can fit. It's called design constraints.

I agree the size of the current iPhone 5 is fine. Why do we feel the need to make it huge? I don't want to carry around a freaking laptop in my pocket! I like the fact that I can do most tasks on my phone using one hand. The size of the Galaxy Tab for example is extremely to large.

I like the idea of 4.5 inches with the same resolution that they currently have. None of the other ideas sound very good. tripling or quadrupling the resolution just doesnt sound like a good idea. 5 inches maybe too huge to keep the standard home button and enough space on the top and bottom for good thumb placement. I think 4.5 is a good trade-off to keep those of us happy with a larger screen. And it may not be so big that the icons would look silly. And if indeed the PPI would decrease to 290, i dont think thats a big difference. I think the screen would still look great. (i think this would make everything appear 12% larger if my math is correct) I dont think the iphone 5 needs internal improvements. In fact, i really dont have any qualms about my current phones processor or battery life or camera. Im not sure there is anything about the 5S that would appeal to me. The iphone 5 is plenty fast, lasts me the whole day and takes great photos. What i want is a larger canvas for games, videos and texting. Im sure Apple can create an iphone with a 4.5 inch screen and keep it roughly the size of the droid razr or even smaller. If they can keep external dimensions less than 5.2 inches tall and 2.7 inches wide, they can make a great large screen with a small footprint. They can call it the + or the XL or whatever, but there are plenty of people with large hands that will find use for it. C'mon Apple do it!!!

Half inch increase is not very much! It still would make the iPhone one of the smaller size players in the high end smartphone marketplace. I go for at least an inch for the smaller model and another 1/2" for the larger model. 5" and 5.5" models.

I go for a 5.5" inch myself! It the right size for today's environment! Everything now is done on the screen. Only less then 10% of the smartphone is use for voice now a days unless you are in sales or over the age of 60!

I have a note 3 and love the size! Would like to go back to the iPhone but want a bigger screen 5.5" and the ability for swype.

AND I am over 60 thank you.

I really want that bigger screen...
Hopefully Apple makes the iPhone 6 a 4.5+ inches device without compromizing on ppi.
I would not want to go back. Isn't Sharp's IGZO tech just the right thing for higher density, while
needing less LED Power? It's been talked about for quite some time now. Now let's go for it...

4 inches is still too small. definitely a 5 or more. Couldn't they put build a phone into the ipad mini?

Apple could do that - use the iPad Mini Retina; but I think they are saving that for the "iPhone Pro" models that are coming around in 2016!

Nah, that's not the point. iOS is the best UI or it wouldn't be used more than all the others. It needs some changes and refreshing is all, not the total teardown that would be Android, or the UI that's just different for differences sake alone (WinPhone).

Surveys show that most people find Android to be, "like iOS but a bit clunky/weird" and find Windows Phone to be just plain old "confusing."

After using all three, I believe that Microsoft's entry is by far the most intuitive. It brings everything you need to you and has a big honking button to push to retrieve the data. iOS is just simply scroll until you find the app you need. Yes you put the icons closer to the front if you use them more, but I still feel that MS does a better job at that. All of this said, I use Android, so go figure.

Oh and Android if you really look at it is like Windows (desktop, pre Windows 8) with it's start button and quick launch bar.

Great article! But what about Android phones? There are hundreds of phones with different screen sizes and resolutions. How does it work for the interface and the developers? Thanks

It's painful, and not just because of screen sizes but also technologies. Antialiasing a PenTile display is different than RGP. Colors look different on LCD vs. OLED. We've spoken to several Android designers on Iterate, and they usually choose a few current, popular hero devices to target, then hope for the best on the rest. (Yes, auto-scaling, on any platform, including Apple's, is a Java-class lie.)

http://www.imore.com/iterate-16-de

I whole heartedly agree. And that is another reason why a lot of Android apps look bad on a Android Tablet.

to what you are saying that really isnt true most apps that are up and running for android run great on both tablets and phones

I wouldn't call an application designed for a phone an app that runs great on a tablet. After using Android for close to three years I have to say the app eco system is an absolute mess and that is even on phones let alone tablets which look more and more that there will never be a good tablet optimized app eco system. It is because of this I am very glad that Apple has been so stingy on making larger display devices as a healthy eco system is bar none the number one facet they should be looking at when making decisions on new designs. The app eco system on Apple's app store is so far ahead of the competition it isn't even close and thats on phones let a lone on tablets where the iPad has no one in it's rear view.

Sure, you can call Android's eco system good enough, hell, I argued that it was for years, but lets be honest it is not. It is a mess and will continue to be. Just like Rene said above devs have a horrible time designing and coding apps and unless you are lucky enough to have one or two models that are the "hero devices" that devs decided to test their apps on then you have problems. Not to mention that C++ is arguably a much better platform (especially when looking at the APIs Apple has designed) than Java is. We will never see the quality of apps on Android as we do on iOS thats just a reality and one of Apple's best selling features. The app store is just a lot more healthy and devs can actually make money whereas on Android you almost have to fully rely on ads (which I can't stand on phones and tablets, but this is an argument for another day). People just need to stop arguing that Android is on par to iOS when it comes to apps because Android is literally years behind and will never catch up.

Fantastic article. I would definitely buy a 4.5 - 5 inch iPhone. There is definitely a gap between the iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini. It would sell like hotcakes too. This is a no brainer IMO.

mountainman, I agree!
I am going from the BB 9930 to Iphone 5, used others in the past. Biggest reason I am switching is everything Apple at home, I pad, I mac, I Tunes etc.
Easy to work them all together!
But as I am getting older the screen icons and sizes are getting harder to ready. Doesn't seem to be a way to re size them for older eyes. However we can make the font bigger as I see in the forums. The hardest part is the font on the icons for me.
Stinks that the eyes go when we get older.
But a 4.5 - 5 inch Iphone seems like a No Brainer to me!

I was listening to the podcast today and started thinking about if there were larger sizes available, what would I buy. I have owned a bunch of Android devices as well as pretty much every iPhone except the 3gs. I really think 4.3ish is the absolute largest device that I have owned that didn't feel too big. I got rid of my 4s because I fell in love with the One X screen in the store, but actually using it was often frustrating. The iPhone 5 addressed the issue I had (3.5 was too small), without being cumbersome. I finally decided that if Apple had released multiple sizes with the iPhone 5, I would have gone with the 4".

4 inch is good no need for more inch , but having more pixels will be good (my eyes are better then normal so i still see pixels )

Apple needs to make a larger IPhone and I for one would buy it. Screen size does matter and all you have to do is look at the number of phones with large screens on the market. Why do manufacturers make them ?? Because people want them and are buying them. If Apple decides to hold their nose in the air and not make them, adapting to the ever changing market, they will go the way of Blackberry, who said no to touch screens. Anyone remember that?

Agree. I am replying to this post on my iPad, but my phone is an Android. iPhone is just too small. I would love to get my mother-in-law an iPhone on the next upgrade, but until it increases to 5 there is no way she could use it. Bummer.

one could also say just as many or more are picking apple BECAUSE they are not going that route. i for one would have to find a new phone or keep an old iphone if iPhone went that big. i don't want a tablet in my pocket. i was iffy about making it taller, i was able to settle on it. but i still think the iphone 4s is the perfect size. if you want a gaming device or a media device to watch movies, then by all means get a bigger screen, but i want a phone. as do MANY others. i always have to laugh when i do see someone with a bulging pocket from a giant phablet that barely fits in thier pocket.

I want a 3.5" iPhone!! NOT larger! I have the iPhone 5 and the screen is TOO BIG to use with one hand! I also use my phone when I run and workout and the smaller the phone the better.Give me the 3GS form factor with a retina display, iPhone 5 speed and lightness, anyday over these big screen, useless phones.

This could be a really stupid question, but I guess I'll ask it any way. I guess I don't understand why Apple wouldn't make a larger iPhone. If you look at all the products apple has, the iPhone is kinda the only one that has little to no choices.

They gave people a lot of choices for the iPod. It fit perfectly into every market group so that it could dominate and kinda be the only the Mp3 player on the market today. There's so many options, even down to the "classic" iPod that's been around forever. There's even choices when it comes to Macs. They removed the screen for a Mac Mini, and they have a 27 inch iMac and the Macbooks have choices in screen size too, 11 inches to 15 inches. And just past October the iPad, which has been on the market for less time than the iPhone, got a choice in screen size.

So why is it that Apple is taking, what seems like forever, to give us choices in the iPhone? And I don't mean, "hey you can get a 4, 4S or 5". I mean something like "hey you can get a 3.5 inch screen (for those that find it sufficient) a 4 inch screen or our new 4.8-5 inch screen device (which ever, if ever, comes to existence). Apple realized that there was a market for a 7 inch tablet and they gave us one. Screen sizes on phones have been changing every 6 months practically since the iPhone 4. Why are they ignoring this market?

Did you read the article? They gave us the iPad mini when they were ready to do it right, and in a way that didn't negatively impact developers (or almost right if you factor in the lack of retina). The alternative is Android, there are plenty of articles on the web about the challenges for developers working with Android and their fragmentation issues.

You have to realize that for a company like Apple, it is not so easy as "hey let's make this thing in 5 inches!", leave the game of having a phone at every .1 inch to Samsung.

What frustrates me (and I think I have posted this before), Apple makes 75ish % of the mobile profits, and everyone keeps telling them they need to act like the companies that are at best breaking even.

I did read the article. And I apologize if I didn't nod my head in agreement blindly like a good apple fan boy should.

I will say 1st that I am a huge fan of apple and have plenty of their products. I won't ever go back to a windows pc or bberry/android/windows phone (cause I've had them all).

But from what you just said, what I got from it was that Apple is handcuffed to their developers. They can't make a product, change a product, add to a product unless their developers say "ok"? I'm not knocking the developers either. They do great work. iOS has the BEST app selection on the market. But apple didn't care about the apps and developers when they made the retina display. They didn't care when they made the 4 inch display. So why would a bigger display cause them to say "wait, how will this effect the apps?" And yes I know they will wait to make the product when parts are available and cost less. I get that.

And what frustrates me is that everyone brings up the numbers or the profits. Apple has the biggest profits compared to its competitors. That's great! Good for them! I'm happy! But that is no way effecting me the consumer who's buying their products. Apple, like any other company should, is always looking to increase their profits. That's why the talk of this budget iPhone is coming to a head. Cause emerging markets can't afford 500 dollar phone off contract. And even though that is a market, so are bigger screen sizes.

Apple is famous for we give you products you didn't know you wanted. But that wasn't the case with the iPad mini. People liked the smaller form factor. They liked the cheaper price point. They bought 7 inch tablets. Apple saw it, and made one. It took time, but they made one. They didn't tell is we wanted a smaller iPad, we told them. So why are they ignoring the fact we want a bigger phone?

I didn't mean to imply that they are handcuffed, but a bunch of different resolutions makes the platform less desirable to develop for, less compatibility = worse experience for end users. Android is theoretically more flexible, but you have to deal with fragmentation as a result. I am not saying that they won't make a larger screen (although 4 inches is where I want my phone to be), just that there are technical and other issues that they need to be mindful of.

I know there's a lot more to be mindful of. I'm aware of fragmentation in android and thats the core reason why I haven't gone back. I like the fact that when I see a new app in the App Store, I can download it with ease of mind that will work, it will look great, and it wasn't made half a** to fit an array of different devices.

And I'm not trying to start an argument. You brought up some very valid points, all of which have to be considered by Apple. I guess my point is that, like first said, I look at all of Apple's product lines and the iPhone is the one that has no choices. And it surprises me that we got an iPad mini in a short time frame and it took 6 generations of phones to finally get that .5 inches more of screen and it's still small compared to whats out there. It just makes me wonder what is Apple's thought process when it comes to the phone?

LOL not at all! I thought I was being seen as someone who was causing trouble. You didn't offend me at all. I enjoy sharing opinions and comments with other apple fans. It's interesting to see where we all stand cause all of us don't want the same thing.

To answer your last question, and it is just a theory... If I were selling phones basically as fast (or faster) than I could produce them, I am not sure I would feel the pressure to make big changes. There is a fine line between "don't fix what's not broken" and complacency though, and it bears monitoring. I don't get too worried about it though, because 4 inches is the right size for me. I am sure that I will like whatever Apple comes out with next, but I have zero hardware complaints about the iPhone 5. When there is something to do with it, I might miss NFC, but beyond that I couldn't be happier.

I totally agree with the whole don't fix what's not broken. I think some of us are just a tad concerned that Apple will be the new Blackberry. Rene has said countless times that once Blackberry 10 hits the market, iOS will be the oldest OS. I know I don't want Apple to sit back and say "who wants that big of a screen?" like blackberry said "who wants to type on glass?"

and yea, I tend to like nearly everything Apple launches, I can't help it lol. I just get antsy some times when it's not HUGE changes.

It's not about "choice." You are sort of looking at it backwards.

It's seems like you think that the products are made in various styles and sizes and the customer gets to choose what they like best, then the manufacturer goes with that and makes more of those kind of products because that's what people "chose."

This is the way a restaurant or a grocery store works,and possibly most retail sales as well, but not the way products are designed and sold.

In other words you are mixing up the concepts of "popular product" and "good product." They aren't the same thing. Apple is trying to make the "best phone." Whether or not there is a sudden popularity blip for large screen phones is irrelevant to that purpose.

If you look into it, you will find that large screen Android phones are not the majority of Android sales either. Most Android phones are the same size or smaller than iPhone.

I don't know how it's not about "choices"? Steve Jobs said himself at the D8 conference when they were talking about Flash said that if the market tells them they made the wrong decision they'd listen to them. That if the consumer likes the product they'll buy it. And if they don't they won't. Which is kinda what happened with the iPad mini. The market was starting to see small tablets and consumers were liking smaller tablets. Jobs was pretty passionate that they'd never make a smaller tablet but the market told them that's what consumers were wanting.

And big screen phones aren't really just a blip on the radar screen. Maybe they were back when the iPhone 4 came out yea, but now they are a pretty dominant force. If they weren't, apple wouldn't have made that screen 4 inches. They would have done what they did with Flash and optical drives. Stand their ground and say this is where the market is going and this is what we're putting our effort into.

The consumer market is all about choice. If the 1st Galaxy note wasn't successful there wouldn't have been a Note 2. If the iPhone wasn't a success I don't think apple would have made 6 generations of them. If a consumer doesn't choose the product the product doesn't last long.

Re: "... a switch from 2x to 3x would mean developers and designers would need to create new @3x assets for their apps. Depending on how many graphics are in an app, that can be a lot of work."

Great argument for anti-skeuomorphism. Much easier to create multiple image sizes when your graphics are solid colors.

If (and that's a huge *if*) they want to make a bigger phone, what makes more sense to me is the arbitrary stretch - now that height is established at 1136, widen from 640 to 800 to either allow another column of icons or, gasp, new UI ideas in iOS7. It won't be 5 inches, but it will be functionally bigger.

J_mac29 was bang on with his comments. Apple makes great products and offers a variety of sizes in all of them except for the IPhone and yes I know they went from 3.5 to 4 inch screen size but they could use a 5 inch screen.

Great article !

I think it is high time for Apple to have a real range of iPhones, like macBooks :

iPhone (4 and 5 inches) like macbook Pro (13 and 15 inches) small or big, every one can get what they like. Choice is important now, many people want a bigger screen.

iPhone air (3.5 inches) ridiculously thin and light, like the iPod touch comes in different colors. Less expensive but not cheap (like Rene says) only 3G, 5MP camera, home button as small as the iPod nano... A nice affordable, cute and small product for people who don't spend their life on their phone screen. Available without contract (299-399$)

I think this range would help Apple to extend his market share and keep their margins.

For the release, I'd like to see :
iPhone 5 (5 inches) in spring 2013
iPhone 6 (4 and 5 inches) in september 2013
iPhone air in spring 2014

It would allow apple to have two iPhones event/year : spring for the air, and fall for the 4 and 5 inches.

You're seriously dreaming on your timelines dude. The manufacturing turnaround alone would make that a nigh impossible task, let alone the R&D time.

Apple is already constrained on iPhones, and you want them to add MORE products to have to manufacture?

the same reason i didnt upgrade to a iphone 5 i opted for a droid dna the screen real estate is nice i do miss my ios device but just making the screen a little bit longer doesnt cut it for me and sure the ui is old but honestly its just an app launcher i would love to play ios games in a nice 4.5 or 5 inch screen or even the 4 inch just wider the fact that they made the phone just longer killed it for me here to hoping what they put out this year and on that note jelly bean is pretty fluid still takes a bit of a learning curve

I'd consider a bigger iphone more probable than a retina ipad mini. It even makes more sense for the iphone considering it'd remove a large barrier to entry that android devices have.

On the other hand, a retina mini would only crush sales of bigger ipads and play havoc with margins. At least the nonretina ipad has sufficient margins for Apple so that it's not an issue now.

Worth considering, re: bigger and cheaper iPhones. Verizon just sold twice as many 4-inch and smaller iPhones than they did any other phone, including all the giant Android phones.

As much as the internet talks about big phones, the demand may not reach levels Apple needs to expand the product line yet.

apples business model is sound, i'd like the ipad mini to have the features of a phone as in callin over cellular which wud make sense with a bluetooth headset and an iwatch(fingers crossed),
why carry many devices whn one can get your job done ....
anything more than 5inch screen size needs a backpack or purse so ipad mini makes sense...
3.5 inch budget iphones and 4 inch premium iphones looks like the logical way to go for now...
till companies start researching on efficient battery technology there is no point havin the fastest processor or widest screen size...
my thoughts and im jst some who dsnt have a smart phone :)

Great article Rene! I'm one of those consumers that absolutely loved the original 3.5 " screen size on the iPhone and loved the 9.7" screen on the iPad. I was amazed at the .5" increase in screen realestate when the iPhone 5 arrived. I honestly thought this was the sweet spot for a smartphone device. I've used Samsung's and although I liked watching movies ad browsing the web, I ultimately thought the actual size of the hardware was too big. When the iPad mini arrived I didn't want to believe that I would like it. But again I was amazed. I was amazed because as much as I didn't want to believe it, the mini size was perfect for a tablet. I often find myself using the mini as my primary while at home and when I'm on the go my iPhone gets my love. It's this reason why I now understand why I would be accepting of a 4.5-4.8" iPhone. I don't believe we need anything larger, but that's just my opinion. If Apple can minimize the hardware as they did with the iPhone 5, I think we will have the next gem. Thank you again Rene for such a great read!

As long as Apple is planning to offer real differentiation, a la iPad and iPad Mini, then I think it is a good idea. If they continue down the path they have set thus far with the iPhone, with old versions providing the "differentiation", then I doubt I would give it a second glance.

Rene, I would like to see you render a phone with an extra column of icons. I don't know how many inches that would make the screen, but similar to the iPhone 5, they would stretch horizontally as opposed to vertically. Maybe you can do that in the forums and link it here.

I think 5in is a sweet spot, which is why I committed myself to the Droid DNA from iPhone 5. If the rest of the body is built right like with the DNA, the usability and comfort of the device is awesome. The screen size is great for games, but it's also excellent for typing emails, etc. I got a larger screen with a higher resolution, LTE connectivity and a slim package without losing battery life (wireless charging is also pretty sweet, one of those things you don't realize you want until you have it). These are not crazy benchmarks that Apple can't achieve. What it comes down to, I feel, is profit margins. Apple doesn't want to lower margins because they have stock holders on their ass. Other companies are totally profitable. They might not have the margins of Apple, but they are not failures or hurting from pushing the technology envelope and investing more into their products for the small trade off of smaller margins. This is where Apple needs to change. Instead of worrying about being the most profitable company - they should worry about competing in a way to ensure they remain in their position.

Apple kind of put themselves in this position by being focused on maintaining such huge profits first and foremost. The other competitors "have" nothing to lose and its why they are pushing the envelope. I think if apple went all in with a slightly larger iphone, they would crush the competition and satisfy everyone with the iphone 5(4") and then the new iphone with a larger display.

No screen size is perfect. Remember when original iphone was introduced it's screen size was one of the biggest (whereas Nokia's flagship N95 black was only 2.8 inches). The thing is, PEOPLE want big displays especially when the hardware has bocome so capable and thats exactly why Samsung has establised itself as iPhone substitute.
Apple must increase the screen size of iPhone 6 to atleast 4.5 inches. But they probably wont this year (wait for 2014). Sticking to small displays is one of the many reasons Apple is being targeted by critics.
I have two suggestions ..... Redesigned iPhone 6 in 2013 ...... Change the UI (we are F bored with the current icons layout).

I think they'd go make an iPhone nano instead, which might be 2.5" (same size as current iPod nano) or smaller (same size as prev. gen. iPod nano) - an "iWatch." And they'd go 6", not 5", but they'll call it an iPad nano as well, not an iPhone biggie. I haven't worked out the numbers yet though, in terms of resolution and how big would the touch targets be like, but I think they could just go all in and add to the "fragmentation" with a new screen resolution. They could say, while others have made their phones bigger and bigger, we've made everything smaller -- iPhones and iPads -- and more affordable. Maybe. :D

If Apple were to release the new iPhone with a screen size no smaller that 4.5in and no larger than 5 inches, I would drop Android all together. The main reason I went with the Galaxy Nexus when I did is because the 4s was WAY too small for my hands.

Apple goes to 4.8" or 5", I'm in. I'm not letting go of my 4S until I see something that can replace it and get the job done or it dies and if my 4S dies, I'll get the best phone for the best price, but a 4.8 to 5" iPhone would certainly be awesome for me.

My guess is that if they go bigger, Apple would probably keep the same 16:9 ratio and go with 1280x720 (from 1136x640) and leaves some black gaps around, not unlike how iPhone 5 handled unoptimised apps. No scaling is needed.

Scaling or black bars could be a Settings option. Black bars top and bottom are easily tolerated (the iPhone 5 solution) but I would think black bars on the sides would be more annoying.
Note that scaling a retina image slightly (to 1280x720 from 1146x640) would probably not appear blurred unless you look really closely with young and healthy eyes.

My question is: if they go with 1280x720 or 1920*1080, how many inches will it be if the dpi remains the same as current iPhone?

The screen ratios are all the same. so...
A) 720 / 640 * 4" = 4.5" -- not quite big enough to make a difference
B) 1080 / 640 * 4" = 6.75" -- way too big
On the other hand, a bigger phone could sacrifice a little bit of dpi so example A could be stretched to 4.8".

For a diagonal size calculation, does it really go like 720 / 640 * 4? Thought the calculation should be more complex than this, since these are height not diagonal line.

Bottom line is Apple has a market for people that would like a 4.5 or bigger screen. I just wished they would just do it instead of waiting years and years. It's frustrating.

Bottom line is that you are just assuming this market exists, when it actually doesn't. Check it out and you will find that most phones, even Android phones are not actually bigger than the iPhone but the same size or smaller.

I think the sales numbers of all the android devices with screens 4.5 and up is a good indicator that people want larger phones. Hopefully if apple does go larger it's not just stretched out again. I think they could go 4.3-4.5 and satisfy all of the people who want a larger screened device. It also would help apple cut into the large android market share especially in the US.

4.3 inches with 1280x720 would be perfect IMHO. Not too much bigger, but big enough to satisfy the need for more screen real-estate. The old iPhone smaller mentality is ovbiously no longer the want or need of the majority of smart phone users. But 5" is just too much I think. 4.3" would be perfect.

Personally, if it were up to me, I'd have them make a 4.3 or 4.5 inch iPhone, and probably stick with the existing 2x resolution. Primarily it would improve readability of web pages, but hey that's what I spend a lot of my time doing.

If they went all the way to 4.8 or 5 inches, I'd try that too. I think its a bit too big but hey, what do I know, I'd probably like it once I got used to it. The current phones are still too small--for me. As long as it fits in a Jeans pocket, I'm good.

I don't see the reason to do 3x or 4x or anything else. There's been enough upheaval in the app ecosystem wrt screen sizes and resolutions for a bit. Just leave it.

I would not be at all happy if the higher resolution screen resulted in either a very thick phone or poor battery life because of the lower transmissivity of the display (a la retina iPad), thus requiring more LED backlighting. Yes I too hope the Sharp IGZO panels will fix this, guess we'll see.

The larger unit would also help with longer battery life on LTE, which is a problem with the iPhone 5. I'd rather not have to turn it off.

I don't think 3X is workable Rene. Yes they could upscale 1X (older iPhone) applications by 3X. But higher resolution 2X apps would not be easily scalable and would have all the usual problems they avoid by doing 2x. So you'd end up with crappy looking apps (significantly worse than iPhone 5). There would also be the problem of that extra row of icons added in the iPhone 5 in the move to 16:9. That row isn't there on the old 1X phones/apps. So there actually aren't any 1X apps in the right proportion. You'd end up upscaling by 3X old apps AND having a black area on the top and bottom of the display. Double ugh.

Great posts nevertheless. Keep it coming. And *love* you on MacBreak Weekly. Please keep it up.

Clearly there are a lot of folks who want a larger screen phone. I think that Apple knows this and is trying to get there. However, characteristically, they are not going to make an unhappy compromise, even if it would help the stock price.
I think the taller screen on the iP5 was chosen as an incremental step to a larger iPhone. A 5 inch screen in the original aspect ratio would be too wide to grip. I think the reason the iP5 is only 4 inches is to better transition to a larger screen iPhone ("iOS now comes in 4, 5, 8 and 10 inch flavors"--it sounds so natural).
From what I read here, the only acceptable solution is to go 4X at 5 inches. Given the state of screens, batteries and GPU's, 2013 might be too soon for such a beast. I should think 2014 for sure.
The bigger, tougher question is just what you do with all that pixel territory and size. The present interface grid is just a sharpened up and slightly expanded version of the 2007 original. I think the interface and OS behavior could be substantially enhanced by thinking different.

Apple makes a iPhone with a screen that is 4.8 to 5", then that will be my next upgrade. Squinting at a tiny screen is my only complaint with the iPhone 4S. It is the most reliable and highest performing smartphone I've ever had. 4.8" and LTE on Sprint = HELL YEA in October!!

I know everyone does it but I dislike the trope about how "Apple won't do X, ... until they do," or suggestions that their definitive statements about what they will or won't do "don't mean anything." They do.

To understand these statements you have to understand they are based on *reason*.

What they are saying is that they've really thought about it and based on all the information, and on what they think is right and what people seem to need and want, *this* (whatever the statement is), is what they've decided. It's a definitive, reasonable statement.

When they then turn around later and do the exact opposite, everyone cries "marketing!" and the implication is that both the original statement and the subsequent turnaround are false or opportunistic. In fact however, what has happened is that they've re-visited the question in a rational way, the facts are different now, and therefore the result is different as well.

The way to deal with these things is not to just shrug one's shoulders and say "Who knows with Apple?" or imply that they've said one thing and done another before. The way to know when one of these shifts is going to happen, is to do the same work the Apple folks do and actually *think* about the problem and work out what the likely result is.

Any reasonably smart person can do this. If conditions have changed, then maybe a new result is just around the corner. Simple.

That's a funny way of saying, "Apple will see how an idea does in the marketplace, implement it then claim it as their own."

That's a funny interpretation, but I don't think you have any factual support for it (which was kinda my point). You're just saying what you feel instead of arguing from facts.

This is why I read iMore. I love these types of articles. As a student of Mobile Developement at Full Sail, these types of things are really important to know. I hope everyone realizes how much work goes into an article like this.

Personally, I like having bigger. I had a 4S and an iPad 2 and found that having iOS on both of devices was kind of redundant. Now I use an iPad Mini and a Note 2. I do more video, web, reading, gaming, texting, and emailing, on my phone than I do making phone calls so I went with bigger. I think for me having an Android phone and an iPad is the right balance.

If there was a larger, ie 5 inch, iPhone AND had more than just black and white options for colors, I would consider it. For now I like having the best of both.

I think they just need to really leap-frog the competition once and for all and put out a 40-50" phone. That way even most HDTV owners will be impressed as well. Think of the boon to the auto industry too, as special vehicles will need to be produced to haul the customers. And, as long as they make it thin enough and keep the same width, it could still be held in one hand. Javelin might be a nice code-name.

The really funny thing is that investors and even some Apple users seem to think playing this phone-screen-size game is a good idea. Sheesh! If zombies ever do appear on the earth, they'll quickly starve.

I would not buy a 5 inch phone. 4 inches is the top end of the phone size i'd buy. If all iphones when over 4 inches i'd simply move to android where i have a massive selection of sizes that fit better.

If size does matter and the niche for Android phones are 5+ inches displays, then why did Samsung deploy a mini version for their flagship device, the Samsung Galaxy SIII??

"forced Android and Windows-based competitors to break the size barrier."
Forced? Android and Windows made larger devices because there is a demand for larger market. Give consumers what they want, rather than tell them "This is what you want".

since we're on the topic of different sizes, how about a SMALLER iPhone? I'm serious. There are plenty of times when I want the core functionality of the iPhone (calls, messaging, contacts, email, etc) and am willing to sacrifice things like a full web browser for a much smaller size, say, the size of the iPod Nano. In fact, this would most definitely be a secondary iPhone for people to take to a bar or running, and wouldn't cannibalize full sized iPhone sales. Call it a feature-phone iPhone.

iPhone nano is brilliant. Make everything work by Siri. Just a basic phone but with no buttons with cloud access to your whole world even iTunes movies, etc. you could stream by plugging it in. Just a tiny highly polished and finished device like a nano.

To be honest this is my first time to your blog. From the few article so far, apart from John Grubber you are the only other one which i think totally understand what Apple's value, culture, and this is backed with technical and analysis.
So there are two screen size for iPod, iPad, iMac, Macbook Pro and Macbook Air. Why not iPhone? I seriously think they should.

There are a few things i have been able to observe in the usage over here in CJK ( Chinese Japanese Korean ) region. Some of them have actually be reported by Reuters as well.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/27/us-apple-asia-idUSBRE90Q0IV201...
( The article is also full of other BS )
But the point is, Chinese is a complex languages. 2nd thing is Asian tends to have worst eyesight compared to similar age Westerners. This means reading Chinese with a small screen and small fonts isn't very user friendly. And that is why lots of them decide to buy a bigger Phone.
And since Chinese handwriting WILL require you to use the devices two handed, the single handed operation for iPhone isn't very convincing. Although there are input method to solve the problem, not everyone know how to use them. And Apple hasn't open up Input Method API to allow developer to create their own, unlike Andriod which gets the best selection Input method.

I Absolutely love the Internet. Its like surfing the Ocean, it is wide and you find everything you imagine. I finally find someone who had all the similar ideas. the 1704x960;
I have been called a idiot for saying that. What I haven't looked details into is the Pixel Perfect Design Element from Apple HIG. Where there are certain pixels grid element ( 11 ) doesn't multiply well with 1.5. 11 x 1.5 = 16.5 and there is not such thing as half a pixel.
I do generally hope Apple adopt this Guideline which is better and solve the problem well.
http://aentan.com/design/new-visual-proportions-for-the-ios-user-interface/

And because of these Pixel Perfect Element Design, I dont think apple will ever change to 1080P or 720P, these so called Standards which are made up by 16:9 AR marketing people.
So If Apple were to adopt 1704x960 resolution. It would fit well with both theoretical 5 inch devices and 4 inch devices. Which has a 392PPI and 498 PPI respectively. And if the 498 PPI number doesn't ring a bell. Below is the link.
http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/1/3056490/sharp-caac-igzo-498-ppi-display...

So if Apple create a 2nd larger devices, I think they will eventually move to 1704x960. But even if they do, i am guessing they will go with the current iPad 4 PPI screen first.

Hi i love apple product so much , i wish to win iphone 4 from your site, thank you for evrey thing you gave us with apple combany

To BIg or not too Big? that is the question. I have quite few friends and acquaintances and what I see is that Samsung is somewhat taking over, just because of the larger screen and good promotional skills. Their commercials might be corny, but they are also Funny! That's not the major problem; people with small hands and large alike are falling for the large screen. iPhone 5 is a great phone, my first and hopefully not the last. I love it and can't leave without it. But I am a large person, with a hand that can grasp mans basketball in three slices, from thumb to middle finger. So, with that said, I enjoy the 4 inch screen, it does the job well. If Apple decides to go larger that's great, and if not, they wont lose much of their customers. Because their camera and display, software and apps are superior to most if not all phones out there. PS: I would like to see what the 4.8/5" iPhone would look like...

A 4in screen is fine. People will never be satisfied. If they made a 6in. screen and everyone said it was the coolest and perfect fit people would still judge and be unsatisfied. That's what we as humans do. We are never satisfied. Apple will make a larger screen size when they have all their things in order and perfected. Apple is all about quality, time and precision. Thats why every company compares their products to Apples. Apple just make great products. They may make a larger size phone in 201 or 2014 or maybe even 2014, but only once they have a reason to and do it the right way. Not trying to start an argument, just stating my opinion.

I would definitely consider a larger Iphone. Not the form factor of the Ipad Mini though. I'd like to see a 16x9 configuration though. 4.5 to 5.0 inches would seem to be a decent size.

Regardless of what people like us who get on blogs like this want, the data proves that there Is a huge market for big smartphones. With economies of scale making exciting innovation more and more complex and difficult, Apple can not shun such market capabilities and stay relevant I like a 3.5 - 4 inch screen. But there ALOT of users who like those bigger phones. Apple needs to follow suit. A simple reality at this point.

Many of us geezers who bought iphones 3 & 4 are going to need larger screens as our vision changes. I'm looking for a 5" screen right now.

A much larger 'phone' would sell, probably, but I just don't know if apple is willing to make a compromised product (and fragment even further their whole line) just for this special niche...

PS: This just seems to be turning into another counter-productive spec war for the sake of little but marketing (I'm not being totally facetious when I say that I half expect someone to come out with a phone with 5.1 surround or some other nonsense sometime soon).

Have three lines two iphone 5s and just got the HTC one and I have to say they nailed the size perfectly and its as smooth as butter. If apple made this it would have been touted as perfection. I don't feel a phone needs to be bigger than 4.5 really though it's the point of diminishing returns.

Apple have already made efforts to reduce the need to reach the far corners of the screen in iOS 7.

In Safari / Mail / Settings etc, a side swipe from the left of the screen will take you back a page/level.

Except for third party apps, this functionality all but removes the need to actually hit the dynamically labelled 'back button' on the top left of the screen.

Anyway, great article, 4.5" at the same resolution is my guess based on your findings.

For me, I don't care as much about the screen size. What I care about is the physical size of the phone. I am really happy with how big my iPhone 5 is, but my Nexus 4 is slightly too wide for me on some of the things I do. I have held a Moto X and is an ok size. I feel that if they could fit a 4.3"-4.7" screen on something that is physically around he same size as the iPhone 5, I would be ok with it.

iPhone 6 specs wish list

1. 4.5 inch display w/ 720p, 1080p, or 2272x1280 resolution
2. 2.8MP 1920x1440 1080p 30fps FaceTime camera w/ larger aperture/pixels
3. Improved Touch ID sensor
4. Lightning cable w/ USB 3.0/3.1 or Thunderbolt speeds
5. Stereo speakers
6. 11.1MP OIS 3840x2880 2160p 30fps iSight w/ larger aperture/pixels, 1080p 120fps
7. $199/32GB, $299 64GB, $399 128GB
8. 4GB RAM
9. A8 quad-core processor (M8 motion coprocessor?)
10. Simultaneous LTE Data/Voice on CDMA device
11. 802.11ac 5GHz w/ MIMO
12. Larger battery

Regardless of what you want, Apple is losing sales and market share to those that make larger phones. Get it now???

its going to more interested with big display iPhone which yet not release by apple,
with 4.8 inch iPhone looking more gorgeous lovely , who wana big screen also apple should be launch sleek design , also i assumes that camera must be increase to 10 to 13 MP in IPhone6
also think apple sure launch 2 different verdict for iPhone

My bet is on 4.5-4.8 inches. They could do it by using 1280 by 720, or 1366 by 768: both would be 326 ppi at 4.5 and 4.8 inches respectively. Many developers are saying this is a very feasible possibility due to the auto-layout features in the iOS SDK. I don't think doubling or tripling would help: yes, you do get a sharper screen, but the on-screen elements would still be using the logical resolution of 568 by 320, which would still yield comically large text and buttons. Hence making a new resolution is the best way to work, and auto-layout can fill the gaps. For developers who are slow to update, Apple can just stretch those apps to fit the larger iPhone; not ideal, but a workable stop-gap, just like the situation we had with the iPhone 5 where many apps did not fill up the whole screen, but just the middle.

4.5 inches actually only gives a paltry 12.5% increase in screen area: which, in my opinion, is rather pointless. If you're going to increase the size, you have to make it significant; ie, there has to be some advantage by doing so. Increasing the size by 12.5% will not allow developers to do much more than what they can already do with the current screen size. A 4.8 inch screen would, however, would give a 44% increase in screen area (over the current 4-inch screen). This would allow developers to do more with the screen real-estate - and will basically be a more significant differentiation than the 4 -inch screen.

So yes, my bet is somewhere between 4.5-4.8 inches, with pixels ranging from 1280 x 720 to 1366 x 768. What do y'all think?

The one thing you neglect is Apple chips. They plan the chips out years in advanced. Nobody saw the 64 bit iPhone 5s coming and we'd be caught as unaware if they do something as creative with their processor or coprocessor for the iPhone 6. And while they're planning a change to the CPU's I'd also expect them to change the display technology too. I don't know what it is but it will be something that they've been planning for a while and suddenly all of the pieces are in place to cut over to it. That's just how they roll.

I think 4.2-4.5" would be the sweet spot and should be the biggest screen that Apple should make for the iPhone. I think anything beyond 4.5" is just a gimmick because that is when it becomes uncomfortable for most hands to use with ease and just becomes a brick in your hand.

It needs to be closer to 5, like most smartphones today. It seems like 5 inches is a good size: one-handed use for most people should still be easy, but it is also large enough for playing games and watching videos.

If Apple wants to pull people away from android, enlarging the screen might help. I was actually considering an iPhone 6, but only if they bumped up the screen size. Currently using a Nexus 5. Screen on this thing is perfect.

I love using an iPhone, but 4 in is way to small. The iP6 needs not only a bigger screen, but wider. It'll be better for YouTube.