Tuesday, April 23, 2013

No 5” Or Greater Screen for iPhone While Trade-Offs Exist


Someone ask Tim Cook during Apple’s financial call today.  What Tim Cook gave as an answer was very interesting.

First, he gave the same Apple line about iPhone’s screen.  It’s the best out there.

Of course, you think that would be it and then ask for the next question.  What he said next was interesting and gave me hope that we might see a future iPhone with a bigger screen, 4.5”, 4.8”, 5”, or greater than the 4” screen on the iPhone 5.  Cook said that as long as certain trade-offs exist, it’s a non-issue.  So, if whatever these trade-offs are met, then we will lkely see a new form factor iPhone with a bigger screen.

What could these trade-offs be?

While near 5” and 5” screens on iPhone’s competitors exist and are flooding the market, such as the Galaxy S 4 and HTC One, Cook seem to suggest that they are made with these technological trade-offs.  Screen quality is one thing.  However, from what I can see, 720p and 1080p screens on 4.5” and 5” screens look great.

I think the larger issue is also battery life and to some extent, the graphics that has to be pushed out to power these big screens.

Size, namely form factor and Apple’s insane fetish with thinness, battery life, and graphics are all issues that Apple has to deal.  Similarly, we saw this in the iPad and iPad mini.  The iPad 2 did not come with a Retina Display as many had hoped because of the power required to drive such a display while maintaining its size and weight.  And when the iPad 3 did finally get the Retina Display, there was a slight increase in weight and thickness.

The disappointment in the iPad mini released with no Retina Display is also an issue as well – Apple just was not able to fit in a Retina Display within the thins form factor and weight they were aiming for while having the battery life be the same as the regular iPad.

We are seeing the same thing is a potential 5” iPhone.  Apple is shooting for this in the 5” iPhone:

  • Weight.  It has to be lighter than competing devices.  And it cannot weigh significantly heavier than the iPhone 5
  • Thiness.  It has to be at least as thin as the iPhone 5 but still maintain its form factor without compromising the integrity of the screen so that it can crack easily.
  • Graphics.  Apple’s silicon team has to find a way to drive a 5” screen with conceivable higher resolutions, which means driving more pixels than ever, without using more power.
  • Battery Life.  At the very least, it has to have the same usage per charge as the iPhone 5.

So, in order for Tim Cook to release a 5” iPhone, it would have to be as thin as the iPhone, screen has to be stronger, still very light, and maintain performance parity or better than the iPhone 5 which now stands at 8 hours of Internet use (10 hours on WiFi), 10 hours of video, and 40 hours of audio playback.

Actually, as far as performance and battery life goes, Apple will try to shoot for iPad like numbers in terms of performance and battery life.

So, once all these factors are met, we’ll get our 5” iPhone.

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