[Updated] Doing the math of a 4.7" iPhone, how much bigger would it be? (mock-ups)
So there's been some rumors lately that Apple might be working on a 4.75" iPhone. Now, whether or not that's true is irrelevant. I just thought that we'd do the math to see how much bigger such an iPhone would be, a lot of people are saying that a bigger iPhone would impede one-handed use. Let's see shall we?
The iPhone 5 clocks in at a width of 58.57mm, and a height of 123.83mm (the whole body, that is). For the purpose of this exercise we're going to assume that if Apple were to increase the screen size they would again increase it by one "icon row" just like the iPhone 5, while maintaining the aspect ratio. An "icon row" equates to 176px (1136 - 960 = 176), so we would now end up with a height of 1312px. To maintain the (almost) 16:9 ratio of the iPhone 5 the horizontal pixel count would have to increase by 98px to 738px in total.
The iPhone would now have a true 16:9 resolution at 1312x738, and the extra pixels will allow another horizontal icon row, but will a vertical one fit? I'll let you be the judge, take a look at this mock-up I made:
Eagle-eyed readers may notice something; the mock-up is actually 740px wide. Why? Well take a look at the horizontal space between the icons. Looks a bit tight, right? Those two extra pixels are simply there to allow for some extra breathing room, it's not much of a difference, but still. On the iPhone 5 the icons are spaced out like this:
⎢34px ⎢ICON⎢38px⎢ICON ⎢40px ⎢ICON ⎢38px ⎢ICON ⎢34px ⎢
With the new resolution, icons would have to fit in a much more cramped space:
⎢28px ⎢ICON ⎢28px ⎢ICON ⎢29px ⎢ICON ⎢29px ⎢ICON ⎢28px ⎢ICON ⎢28px ⎢
To keep the current icon padding, the screen would have to be 790px wide. This would give us an aspect ratio of approximately 15:9.
But for now let's focus on the 1312x738 resolution, how big would this screen be? The new screen width would be 59.61mm, and the height would be 104.39mm. Thanks to Pythagoras we can calculate the diagonal size to: 59.61 ² + 104.39 ² = C ² √C = 120.21mm. This translates to 4.73 inches, just two points shy of the 4.75" rumors.
So how big would the iPhone's body become? Would it still be pocketable and easy to use? The current iPhone has a bezel of 3,43mm on each side. Sharp, the creator of the IGZO screen tech, says devices with bezels as thin as 1.7mm will be possible using IGZO. Assuming the new iPhone would use this tech, the width would end up at 63.01mm, 4.44mm more than the iPhone 5. Height-wise the increase would be much greater, however if you take a look at all the Android phones out there you'll notice their top and bottom bezels are all a lot smaller. I believe Apple can decrease the top and bottom bezel by AT LEAST 12.42mm. This would give the iPhone a new height of 125.41mm, a barely noticeable 1.58mm more than the iPhone 5.
So there you have the "facts", a 4.7" iPhone would potentially have a 1312x738 resolution, a 4.44mm increase in width, and a 1.58mm (take this with a grain of salt) increase in height.
Personally I would love it if Apple offered a bigger iPhone model next to the 4" one, perhaps not a 4.7" but 4.3" - 4.5" perhaps. Offering an additional model would do no harm to us customers, it just means we have one more choice. If you like being able to use the iPhone with one hand - get the 4"! If you enjoy a bigger experience, get the bigger one - everybody wins!
What are your thoughts on a bigger iPhone? Discuss!
Update: I've included a mock-up with four columns instead of five to show how this would look.