As new in-cell technology rumors spread, suggesting a thinner iPhone 5 with larger screen, one question remains: are the current iPhone screen dimensions a real problem for iPhone users?
Doubtless you’ve noticed that a new crow of in-cell technology rumors have made their way into the rumor mill recently. It isn’t the first time we’ve heard about the in-cell rumors, but with new reports that iPhone 5 production is finally ramping up, the fact that we’re sniffing new in-cell rumors helps to perhaps somewhat crystallize the prospect of that technology actually turning out to be a reality on the new iPhone.
According to CRN:
“According to a report Tuesday from The Wall Street Journal, people familiar with the matter said both Sharp and Japan Display, a joint venture comprised of three Japanese tech companies, already are ramping up production of LCD displays for the new iPhone’s screen. They also said these displays are based on in-cell, a new design process in which the screen’s touch sensors are embedded directly within the LCD, eliminating the need for a separate touch-screen layer.
The result is a much thinner screen and one that boasts higher-quality graphics than non-in-cell displays, the report said.”
Making products thinner is an age-old Apple trick, and something that they always appear to be ready to do, whether it be iPhones or MacBooks. We’ve debated how critical it is to actually make the iPhone 5 any thinner than the current iPhone, and whether or not that kind of feature would greatly enhance the mobile computing experience. But what about the larger screen? How necessary is it for the iPhone 5 to feature a bigger screen than that of every iPhone iteration that has come before it?
Few people seem willing to pose this question, since a larger screen has always been at the heart of iPhone 5 speculation. But in spite of the fact that users and tech media seem to be “calling” for a larger screen for the iPhone 5, there are factors involved that suggest the iPhone 5 could very well sport the exact same screen and perimeter dimensions as the current iPhone. Steve Jobs, after all, famously boasted of the iPhone’s dimensions as truly optimal; he felt as though he had struck a balance between size, functionality, and compactness in the iPhone’s overall size. And for as much as it might seem easy to dismiss Jobs’ love of the current iPhone’s screen dimensions as ego-driven, the iPhone has gone on to be the best-selling single smartphone on the market today — and its size and ergonomics play some role in its success.
It also stands to reason that Jobs stacked the deck of designers at Apple for the iPhone who shared some of his fundamental design beliefs. This isn’t to say that Tim Cook and company are in lock-step with Steve Jobs’ vision of the future for the iPhone and other Apple products — he loved having debate and differing opinions at Cupertino — but to me, it would seem that if Apple chooses to sport a larger display on the iPhone 5, it will be a decision borne less out of a design aesthetic, and more out of a reaction to the iPhone’s current competitors.
And that just doesn’t seem like the Apple we know and love.
The fact is, mobile users adapt very quickly to the size of their devices’ displays. Whether you’re working on an iPhone or Galaxy Note, it doesn’t take that much time or require that much cranial strain to eventually come to navigate a touch screen, regardless of its size. I would even argue that if the iPhone ended up sporting a smaller screen, users would adapt to it in a matter of days.
Thus, I think that the call for a larger-screen iPhone 5 is less about a widespread frustration with the current iPhone’s screen size, and more about people reacting to what they’re seeing with competing devices, vis-a-vis the GS3. It’s a the grass is always greener kind of reaction.
I may be wrong. But if I was wrong, I think that the sales numbers would bear out my flawed thinking: as the screen sizes of competing Android devices grew, there would be a converse drop-off in iPhone 4/4S sales over the past few years if fact the screen size of the current iPhone was a big problem.
The fact is, it’s not a “big problem.” It really isn’t. If you recall the poll that was taken after the announcement of the iPhone 4S last year, it wasn’t the lack of a larger screen that users were most disappointed with; it was the lack of 4G LTE.
At this point, there is much more to point to in the rumor mill to suggest that the iPhone 5 will indeed sport a bigger screen. And maybe that’s something that you’re looking forward to. But you should keep an open mind going into the iPhone 5 announcement, since it is a possibility that the screen might in the end stay the same size, or at the very least, only marginally increase, so as to keep the original design specs of the iPhone intact.
You might want Apple to react to the industry trend of 4-inch-plus smartphone displays. but that doesn’t mean that Apple wants the same thing.
Do you think that the iPhone 5 desperately needs a larger screen? If so, make your case for it here! And be sure to list all of the current and previous iPhones you’ve owned, and explain how you managed to survive all this time with the iPhone’s supposedly inadequate 3.5-inch display dimensions.
By Michael Nace