iPhone 6, screen and resolutions

iPhone 6, the new model . Speculations, rumors, supposed leaks… usually it’s still “hot” the release of the latest model when the news about the new ones start. Models that, logically, already exist as conceptual or test models even before the previous one is presented.

And in this case, we are going to reflect a little on the supposed news that certain important media have taken for granted and that, normally, are close to the final truth. The first and most disturbing for me: the size of the screen and its resolution .

iPhone 6, at 4’7″ or 5’5″

iPhone 6, screen and resolutions
iPhone 6, screen and resolutions

That’s what everyone agrees: the new iPhone will be bigger . Some people talk about two models, although it is also said that the 5’5″ model could have been discarded for later. The new panel, however, would not be the same as the current iPhone 55c5s: it seems clear that the resolution of 1136×640 would be multiplied by 4 and we would be talking about a panel of 2272×1280, slightly higher than a Full HD and which would give a screen of over 500 dots per inch.

Why this resolution? Simple: for consistency in the apps and to facilitate the work of the developers. Since April of last year, Apple has required that every app or game published or updated in the App Store, for iPhone, be adapted to the Retina screen of 4″. Changing this resolution, taking into account that each Apple device has a different aspect ratio, cannot be something that is done at will: must be consistent and make it as easy as possible for developers to update their apps to the new conditions .

If we quadruple the resolution, we will obtain that any app would only need to be regenerated to take advantage of that resolution with more detailed graphics but that do not vary in aspect ratio. Nothing should be re-modelled . In the case of games, new graphics libraries with the same graphics but at higher resolution, in what some call Ultra-Retina resolution, would be sufficient.

Nothing else should be changed because the iPhone controls the positioning of the elements very well in relation to its scale factor : the iPhone 3GS is 1x scale, the 44s55c5s is 2x and the new 6 would be 4x scale. Internally, the position remains the same and the transition would be clean and simple. In hours, any game or app would be adapted to take full advantage of this new resolution .

One-handed driving

I’ve had an iPhone 4 for almost 4 years. Now I’ve replaced it with a 5s that I’ve literally fallen in love with. Now when I pick up the 4 I see it as small and above all, very heavy. So I understand perfectly how people get used to bigger screens right away and don’t want to go back .

But on the other hand, one of the most comfortable and coolest things about the iPhone 5s is holding it in one hand and using the thumb of the same hand to unlock it . It’s that simple. You don’t want to have to use two hands, as is the case with the new Samsung Galaxy S5, where it is physically impossible to unlock the phone with the fingerprint using only one hand.

Operating the phone with one hand is essential in many cases and is part of Apple’s dogma for its terminals . Will you miss this? Currently, on a 16:9 aspect ratio screen, 4,06″ is 103mm diagonal. At 4’7″ we would be talking about increasing the diagonal to 119mm, i.e. 16mm more screen diagonal.

Measurements to the millimeter

In total, iPhone 5S is 58.57 mm wide, with a 51.70 mm display. That’s 6.87 mm, which divided by two gives us 3.435 mm of bezel on each side. However, at the bottom we have 16.72mm between the screen and the bottom as well as the top. All these calculations make us see that if we want to get 16mm more screen, we must make the terminal bigger in an unquestionable way .

The question is: how much bigger? Is it really necessary to provide this new screen that the terminal is excessively large or may the Apple design team have found a way to push the proportions of a terminal to the limit to provide a 4.7″ screen that can be handled with one hand and does not make our mobile too big ?

The iPhone 5s measures 58.57mm and the new screen would be only 1.27mm wider (59.84mm). We only need 0.635mm for each extra side, not counting the bezel. And while the current screen measures 90.39mm and the terminal 123.83mm, the new screen would require a height of 104.63mm . 19.2mm that would be left over from the 33.4mm that the terminal currently has by adding the speaker and camera part and the lower part of the HOME button (which has a diameter of 10.9mm).

With all these calculations in hand, if we reduce the side edges to the minimum necessary, as rumour has it, and significantly reduce the top of the speaker, the proximity sensor and the FaceTime HD camera, we could increase the size of the screen without increasing the size of the terminal excessively . It is necessary to make it bigger because the new screen does not fit in the current measurements, the question is: how much more is necessary?


Despite being called iPhone 6 (or maybe it’s not called that and is called Air, who knows) it will be the eighth iteration of the Apple smartphone. Four iterations have used the Retina Display concept so far and two of them already use the 16:9 aspect ratio while keeping the dots per inch. It is certainly time to take a step forward, but the steps have to be taken by measuring (literally speaking) every last millimeter .

In October of this year we will talk about this and as a developer I will be “forced” to buy one of these models if I want the games we develop to be ready for the new screen. I’m willing to “pay that penalty”. Meanwhile, there are many months left to fill lines and lines of rumors, speculations and all kinds of “dimes y diretes”.

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