Dissecting What a 4 Inch iPhone 5 Display Would Entail


Earlier The Verge touched on an article that discussed what has been brought up before: a 4 inch iPhone 5. The difference this time around? More detail was focused on how Apple could introduce a 4 inch display  by increasing the aspect ratio to achieve a larger display; essentially lengthening the phone but keeping it the same width:

Colin’s idea was to keep the shorter side of the iPhones screen the same, i.e. 640 pixels at 1.94 inches. With that in mind how much would the longer side need to increase so the that diagonal measurement was 4 inches. The answer, derived using simple algebraic rearrangement of Pythagorus’s theorem, 1152 pixels and 3.49 inches. That leaves the the diagonal length measuring a little over 3.99 inches, I’m sure Apple PR could round this 4.

For those of you who are good with numbers I’m sure you’ve noted that 1152 x 640 has an aspect ratio of 9:5 and the 1152 pixels is and increase of 192 from 960 and that’s 20% more than on the iPhone 4 and 4S.


Within the article itself numerous screenshot images of mockups compare the iPhone 4S screen to this new taller 4 inch screen. Everything is looked at from apps, the phone app, messages, Safari, maps, and numerous popular apps such as Twitter and Doodle Jump.

John Gruber from Daring Fireball believes the user ‘Colin’ wasn’t merely guessing or speculating. The problem with a larger display height-wise is being able to reach all areas of the screen with one-handed operation. This was previously touched on before when the iPhone screen was compared to that of the 4.2″ Samsung Galaxy S II.

Matthew Panzarino over at TNW also adds some doubt about the usability of a taller iPhone. What do you think? Would Apple ever consider such a move to increase the screen by bumping the aspect ratio?


  • dav1dz

    Changing the aspect ratio would be a real problem for many iOS developers.

    I also like 3:2 a lot from the photography point of view. Nothing is wrong with a 3.5″ display. I don’t see why it must be 4″ or greater. From an usability point of view I much rather pocket 3.5″ on the go.

    In the end though it’s Apple’s design so they can do whatever they want.

  • Ryan

    I totally agree. I’d much rather pack a 3.5 inch phone around. I’ve never run into a situation where I wished my phone were bigger. I also like that I can operate most apps on the phone using only one hand and my thumb.

  • Captorian

    I think lengthening the phone, as described, is actually easy for iOS developers, as legacy apps can run with letterboxing or having the dock visible.

    16:9 videos would look better, and the length would add real estate for game buttons.

    Not sure if it would be as pocket friendly though….

  • Edge

    “John believes Colin wasn’t merely guessing…”. I call this as just some dude (probably 14 years old) having fun drawing pictures. 9:5 ratio??! Yeah, that’s common… Changing the ratio for all the existing apps?!? I’m calling this bogus and not worthy of being reported. Just because some preteen on Twitter posts a math equation doesn’t make it real! Man these slow reporting weeks are killing me!

  • Mark

    And I wish my iPhone were bigger every single time I use it. Even at 4″, I think it would be too small. This is one thing that could tempt me to the dark side…

  • Anon

    “Game buttons” are the thing of the past.  Many newer games like Mass Effect Infiltrator have no fixed onscreen buttons.

  • Vixen

    Web browsing, heck even texting is brutal on a 3.5″ screen.  Not everyone has tiny fingers / dwarf-sized hands.