With the preponderance of speculation claiming that the iPhone 5′s new display will be on the lower end of 4 inches, the big, 5-inch iPhone 5 display rumor persists. With the big, new GS3 screen and the marginal success of the Galaxy Note, is the 5-inch display becoming a new smartphone benchmark that Apple could look to imitate?
You’ll recall that over the past few months, we processed some hefty rumors about Apple working on a beefy 5-inch display for its upcoming iPhone 5 release. Delving into the iPhone 5 News Blog‘s repository of posts on the subject of screen size, I am reminded of this rather big story that came out of Japan on March 29th that new, 5-inch displays are being mass-produced in earnest for the iPhone 5. Prior to that, we also had a rumor on March 22nd out of South Korea — Samsung’s home base — that 4.6-inch screens were in production for the iPhone 5.
And let’s not forget: we’ve also heard rumors about a longer iPhone 5 display that would retain the device’s current width. Tech pundits have seemed to like this theory and accompanying rumor — supplied by iLounge last week — because it manages to balance everything we believe Apple is considering for the iPhone 5′s screen size: they want it to be bigger, but they don’t necessarily want it to radically change the overall dimensions of what looks and feels like an iPhone. But as you can see, the iPhone 5 screen size rumors are so varied and inconsistent that there is virtually no consensus. Heck, we’ve even heard some say that the new iPhone won’t feature any change in screen size.
Interestingly enough, Know Your Mobile posted an article a couple of days ago that went under the radar, wherein they report the following: “[W]e’re hearing reports that Apple’s up-coming iPhone 5 will feature a 5-inch Retina Display. The news comes via a source based in China. According to the source, they are familiar with Apple’s production process and have access to pre-production models of the iPhone 5.”
I cannot understand why Know Your Mobile would break a story from a supposed inside source, and then completely discredit it, but that’s just what they do; they go on to poo-poo the entire rumor since, to them, a 5-inch screen just doesn’t make any sense. I’m inclined to agree with their skepticism, only because 1) the rumor is extremely thin, and 2) the tech site that is breaking the story doesn’t even believe it. However, I think it is worth taking the opportunity to discuss the concept of the 5-inch iPhone 5 display, particularly in light of the Samsung Galaxy S 3 announcement, along with its large 4.8-inch screen.
The question here is: are smartphone displays that measure around the 5-inch mark becoming a new standard? And if so, is Apple going to adopt that standard with the iPhone 5?
In my opinion, it’s a complex question to answer, since we know the following two things, and they are diametrically opposed to one another: first, Apple clearly loves the dimensions of the iPhone. After all, they have kept them virtually intact since the original iPhone’s release. Second, however, is that Apple has never been averse to copying and imitating tech trends, all in an effort to improve upon them.
Surrealist artist Salvador Dali once said that “Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.” Steve Jobs seemed to agree: he was known to have said, “creativity is just connecting things.” In this way, Apple never fears appearing pastiche in adopting technological ideas, since they have typically improved upon whatever idea they adopt.
In the case of the 5-inch display, the iPhone 5 would experience a totally radical development, and the pundits would most likely pan the decision from the gate, saying that it was a desperate design move to keep pace with Samsing’s larger-screen devices. But that criticism would be completely false: smartphone to smartphone, Apple need not fear the GS3 or the Note — or both of them combined. Of course, there will be some mobile users who will jump from the iPhone to the GS3 or Note simply because they think that a really large screen is extremely cool. On the other hand, there will be Samsung users wh will counterbalance the migration by switching to the new iPhone in a bid to get away from the often unreliable Android OS. In the end, those transfers will be a wash at best for Samsung. The more likely scenario is that the iPhone 5 will soak up even more market share from Samsung.
While Apple does not have to keep a worried eye on a single smartphone competitor, however, they do have to look at the smartphone trends as a whole. And if they see the entirety of the top-tier smartphone market moving in the direction of 5-inch’ish displays, they may in fact have to think about those dimensions, if not for the iPhone 5, perhaps the iPhone 6. LG has the 5-inch Optimus Vu coming out, for example, which looks more like a square than a rectangle. This isn’t to say that I think the iPhone 5 will come with a 5-inch screen — or that the two 5-inch display rumors referenced above are any more or less credible than all of the other display size rumors. But now that we are seeing a trend toward 5-inch screens in smartphones, the prospect of a 5-inch iPhone 5 is no longer completely impossible.
By Michael Nace