A few weeks ago I called into the Vergcast and talked about how I thought it was likely that Apple would change the aspect ratio of the iPhone and give it a taller screen in order to reach 4 inches. It would result in easier app compatibility and keep the same screen DPI. John Gruber on Daring Fireball then hints that I may know more then I let on. I hope most people realize that this is actually his way of slyly saying he knows more, that or he likes the idea so much he thinks it came directly from Apple; either way I'm humbled by either scenario.
I came up with this "theory" from thinking, using logic, and simply what I want from a new iPhone, mixed with what I thought Apple would want from a new iPhone.
And to name a few.
- I don't want the iPhone footprint to get bigger.
- Apple will want all apps to still work on day one, and scaling pixels to a different resolution is not the answer.
- Apple is going to make a better looking, better designed iPhone.
- If there is an easy way for a lot of apps to adjust to a new screen size, Apple would favor this over all apps being redesigned.
I would also like to note this theory was born from reasons my favorite writers said a 4" screen wouldn't work. I took those very logical opinions, and made a 4" screen that would give them a hard time to find flaws with. And many of them ended up loving the idea.
The biggest argument against my theory has to do with the aspect ratio. Hey I don't love a 16:9 or 9:5 aspect ratio either, but when trying to explain how a 4 inch iPhone could easily work, it's better to keep it simple and to the point. When trying to prove that point, the less extra ideas thrown in that don't help the point, the more likely the original point will be understood. The main idea is keeping the 640 horizontal pixels. Keeping the PPI the same was just to prove that it could work like that, without sacrificing the pixel density at all.
So people have had time to express their ideas and thoughts on this. A lot of people saying they love the idea, a lot thinking the iPhone will need to get taller for some reason, and a lot of people hating on the aspect ratio. But now it's my turn to say what I would want in an ideal iPhone.
I think the iPhone 4S is the perfect size, I don't think the screen size is perfect, I don't think the aspect ratio is perfect. The reason for this is as the iPhone gets better designs over the years, it will be more and more screen with less and less borders or bezels. The iPad has a functional reason for the bezel, but besides the current home button, the iPhone doesn't need such a large bezel, if any in the future. It isn't hard to imagine a futuristic iPhone of maybe six years from now. I think it's crazy that anyone would think that the iPhone would look identical from the front and 30% of the front still is a bezel. The only thing I give credit design wise to some android phones is how much some of them just look like a screen in your hand, and it's impressive looking.
From this I say the screen needs to get larger, because I don't want a short stubby iPhone. But by the same thinking I don't want a bigger stubby iPhone either. The 3:2 aspect ratio as a phone size alone doesn't seem right to me. I've seen many mock-ups and the 3:2 aspect ratio iPhone doesn't look right at 4" or 3.5". Therefor I think the screen needs to get larger and the aspect ratio needs to get taller in order to fill out the meticulously sized iPhone.
3:2 stubby edge to edge screen iPhone
So keeping the 640 pixel width and keeping pixel density above 300. This is the screen I would like, fits on the current iPhone, and looks good if in the future the bezel becomes non existent. I present to you, the golden ratio. The screen width will go from 1.94" to 2.1" (iPhone 4S device width is 2.31") it would be 640 x 1036 resolution which is an aspect ratio of 1.618:1 (the golden ratio) with a DPI of 305.
The exact numbers Apple will use? I don't know, but I think the screen will change with the next iPhone.
Below is an image from Dan Provost showing different screen ratios and sizes on iPhones, edited to add my own iPhone mock-up.
I made sure everything would work with my math above, however I have poor image editing skills so the image may not match perfectly to my math, but it shows the basics.