The Taller iPhone 5...why?
So I'd like to put in my two cents concerning the next iPhone 5. There have been some leaked components here and there and also a nice little back plate, not to mentions talks of a larger/taller screen. Here are my thoughts, selected at random.
The Same Size Phone, Slightly Bigger Screen
I actually don't see the next iPhone increasing in physical side, either being slightly wider or taller. The current iPhone 4/4s has a nice one-handedness to it, excellent pocketability, and while many people may want it to increase in size [to accommodate for a growing screen, obviously], I think restraint will play a huge part in continuing the 'what works' formula moving forward. Samsung doesn't even recognize this word in their product vocabulary, as evident by the unleashing of the half-tablet, half-phone hybrid, the Samsung Galaxy Note with its 5.3" screen. That's just silly and uncalled for, by anyone's standards.
If the new iPhone retains its current physical dimensions and adds a bigger screen (let's just say a safe, incremental 4 inches)—wait, would they really do this? Let's take a look at the front surface area of the 4/4s.
There's no hit areas on the top, except for the 'swipe down' for the Notification Center, and on the bottom there's the Home Button—that's it. That yellow area is roughly the same bezel height of the iPad, a device with a significantly larger screen! It's a totally different use case, granted, but when were are talking about physical dimensions and a larger screen on the iPhone, there is absolutely no reason to make the next device taller, as many people have already eluded to.
I am still hopeful that Apple will finally use the 'swipe up' from the bottom of the screen to do what double-clicking the Home Button does now, which is bring up the recently used apps and other functions like volume and screen rotation lock. It makes a lot of sense (even the animation of everything sliding up to reveal it on the bottom), and would compliment the Notification Center 'swipe down' action. While you're at it, go ahead and make the Home Button touch-sensitive rather than analog!
What I'm getting at is there's no reason to make the device taller with a 4-inch screen...
The side bezels are kept the same (as cool as it looks, no one wants the screen to go to the very edge, it's not practical), the mute and controls move down (much like the current Verizon iPhone, which has a revised antenna design than the AT&T version), the FaceTime camera and speaker move up, and there's a touch-sensitive and rectangular Home Button to compensate for less space. The touch-sensitive Home Button is a bit of a stretch, but I'm hoping they do something that will combat the wear and tear of that analog button. It changes over time (the "click" sounds, feels, and operates differently); that's my main criticism to progress this five-year-old design.
And most importantly the front and the back line up perfectly, not like you've seen on those hastily rendered 3D images sporting the taller device.
So what are the engineering challenges here? A bigger screen means a bigger battery in the same size package. It sounds like a challenge, but it's not impossible to achieve the same battery life as the current 4/4s. The revised port down below will probably free up some room in the battery department, and much like what Apple recently did with the Retina Display Macbook Pro, they are very capable of working their magic internally and making it happen. I wouldn't be surprised if the device is...wait for it, thinner as well.
Many people have really been gunning for a taller device with a bigger screen; I have to ask...why?