Apple's Next Screen Size
Not What You'd Expect
What size screen do you think the next iPhone that changes its design (i.e. the 6, not the 5S) will have?
I personally think Apple has a great opportunity to go for 4.5" and here is why:
First, the screen will still be manageable and would only require a slightly larger chassis if an edge-to-edge display is used. This is very important and would be a good compromise. If someone needs a smaller phone, the iPhone 5/5S would still be available as Apple's budget phone. A larger 5" (or 4.94" as Arment suggests) phone would need a drastically increased x-dimension and that would not be a good option for most people. One can look at the RAZR M's size and screen to see how an edge-to-edge screen can be highly advantageous. With Apple's skill in the hardware department, a screen like such could be highly achievable and the software team can make a few changes to avoid unintentional touches like on the Mini.
Second, the screen size matches up with Apple's PPI use and common 16:9 display tech. If Apple implements a 1920x1080p display, it will create a 489 PPI display. I know what you are all saying, "That isn't 326, you lied." Well, it is true it isn't 326, but even better, it is a multiple of 163. Specifically, 3x, dare I say, @3x? With one fell swoop, Apple can have a great screen size which may please even more people, and have the best display technically on the planet. And it will be ridiculously easy to implement. All Apple needs to do is to ask for @3x resources, and voila, the iPhone is supported. No black bars, just a little blurry (well, if you can call 326 blurry), until the resources are added. This will be an easier transition than to the iPhone 5's aspect ratio change.
Third, if Apple does implement a resolution like this, it will just be in time. Android phones with 1080p will soon be widely available. LTE will be advanced to the point where 1080p streaming is viable, and if not, internal storage will have increased to accommodate larger resources. Web devs are even more prepared this time around. @3x web solutions are just a media query away from supporting device-pixel-ratio of 3. It will take less than 10 mins to code for a site already using media querys for @2x devices.
Finally, and most importantly, the screen will look better. Combined with better contrast and gamut, a 1080p display could be beautiful. It will have diminishing returns of course, but I can still see pixels on the current iPhone, and I am certainly not the only one. 489 PPI may be the last stop needed on the PPI train for a while. I believe that the cost of the display does not outweigh the benefits of sharpness. Of course, you can argue with me here, but I believe that IGZO tech will also help with a display like this. And please don't tell me no one can see the pixels on the current phone, because I can certainly see them at 12".
What Do You Think?
Do you think I am right? Any suggestions, comments, concerns? Do you think 4.5" is a good compromise?
And here is a mock-up: