Next-Gen iPhone To Feature Larger, Sharper Display

Top contender for Apple's new iPhone display is believed to measure 3.95 inches at 1136 x 640 pixels and a 16:9 aspect ratio.
9 Hottest Phones At Mobile World Congress
9 Hottest Phones At Mobile World Congress
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Apple hasn't settled on the final design of the next-generation iPhone, according to 9to5Mac. The company is still testing various prototypes, some of which have different screen shapes and sizes compared to previous iPhones. One of the top contenders among the prototypes features a larger display and adds its own twist.

All iPhones sold to date have had a display measuring 3.5 inches across the diagonal, and a 3:2 aspect ratio. The iPhone 4 and 4S have 640 x 960 pixels, which Apple markets as a Retina Display. The idea behind the Retina Display is that the pixel density is so high, human eyes can't pick out the individual pixels. The result is crisp text, sharp edges, and a clean and legible look.

The new iPhone, according to 9to5Mac's sources, will have a display that measures 3.95 inches across the diagonal. The height of the display would increase to 3.45 inches, but the width would be the same 1.96 inches it has always been.

[ For more reports on the upcoming iPhone's display, see iPhone 5 May Get New Display, 'Liquidmetal'. ]

The new measurements change the aspect ratio of the next-gen iPhone, bringing it very close to the standard 16:9 ratio that's used in television sets and computer monitors. With the aspect ratio set essentially to 16:9, tons of video content will naturally fill the entire display.

To account for the size difference, the new display adds 176 pixels to the height, making the full resolution 1136 x 640. Apple is apparently testing new builds of iOS 6 to take proper advantage of the changed aspect ratio and the extra pixels. The extra length and pixels, for example, provide enough room for an extra row of icons to display on the home screen. Apps will also be able to stretch further down the display, which means more content will be visible on any given screen.

Of course, the added pixels mean Apple can still market the new screen as a Retina Display.

Looking at competing displays, many of today's top-end Android smartphones pack 1280 x 720 pixels at a 16:9 aspect ratio. They might not have the same pixel density as the Retina Display, but they still offer excellent image quality and natively support full-screen playback of today's most common video content.

One other nugget mentioned by 9to5Mac's sources resurrects the mini dock connector story. Various reports over the last few months have suggested that Apple will reduce the size of its 30-pin dock connector to conserve space in the new iPhone design. 9to5Mac's source says that the new, smaller dock connector will be closer in size to a miniUSB port, but it won't actually be a USB port.

The rest of the cell phone industry has standardized on microUSB ports for charging and syncing.

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