iPhone 5 May Not Get a Bigger Screen: 10 Reasons Why

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-06-18

iPhone 5 May Not Get a Bigger Screen: 10 Reasons Why

Over the last several years, if one polled current and prospective iPhone owners about the features they most desired in the next iteration of the smartphone, many would have said a bigger screen. After all, for years, iPhone owners have watched Android vendors offer up devices that come with larger screens. And time and again, Apple has launched new iPhones with the same, 3.5-inch display.

Now, though, rumors suggest Apple will be launching a 4-inch screen in the iPhone 5. In fact, there have been several chassis leaks, seeming to show an iPhone prototype boasting a taller screen that comes with the same width as its predecessors. That extends the number of pixels on-screen, but still offers the width advantages found in Apple€™s current handset. 

But just because the rumor mill says Apple will launch an iPhone with a larger display and most consumers want it to happen, it doesn€™t mean it definitely will. In fact, there are several reasons Apple might decide to stick with the same, 3.5-inch screen it has always offered. 

Here€™s why Apple may release the next iPhone with the same old 3.5-inch screen. 

1. It has stuck with 3.5 inches 

This isn€™t the first time that speculation has suggested Apple will launch an iPhone with a larger screen. Each time that has happened the company has kept the 3.5-inch display. When determining Apple€™s next move, it€™s always a good idea to look back at history. Apple is nothing if not consistent about its smartphone design. If recent history is any guide, the future doesn€™t look so bright for those hoping for a larger screen. 

2. An iPad Mini looms 

The issue with launching an iPhone with a larger screen is that it might come too close to the reported iPad Mini that€™s launching. Apple likes drawing clear lines between product launches. By launching a smaller iPad, as well as a larger iPhone, it€™s starting to bring them closer together. Granted, tablets and smartphones are different products, but at what point do they become too similar for their own good? 

3. Four inches is still smaller 

Apple€™s iPhone 4S comes with a 3.5-inch screen, making it, in some cases, a full inch smaller than its chief competitors. But what good will the rumored 4-inch screen do? After all, the screen will still be smaller than many competing handsets and those vendors will still hold the high ground. Why invest in a larger display just to end up at the same point? 

4. The additional cost 

If Apple likes anything, it€™s maintaining strong margins. By keeping the same display in the iPhone 5, it can likely improve margins a bit more. Bringing on a 4-inch screen, however, will only increase costs. Apple is a cost-conscious company. All those who believe it will offer up a 4-inch screen must remember that. 

A Larger iPhone Isn’t Necessarily Easy to Hold, Use


5. An app issue 

Since the iPhone€™s launch, iOS developers have been delivering applications that are optimized for 3.5-inch screens. If Apple launches a new iPhone with a larger screen, they€™ll need to adapt their applications to support the new size. It€™s not a major issue, of course, but it€™s something that could negatively impact the app experience in iOS. 

6. It might be better to wait 

For Apple, launching a new iPhone with a bigger display this year might not make much sense. The company€™s products continue to sell well with the smaller screen, giving it the option to not change things so drastically this year. When sales start to flag because of the screen, Apple can launch a device with a bigger display. Until then, why make the move before it€™s needed? 

7. Apple isn€™t keen on major updates anymore 

Apple has been offering iterative updates to its iPhone and iPad for the last few years. And chances are the company will do the same this year. Apple is seemingly against major updates to its products, likely because of the cost. Offering up a totally redesigned iPhone to accommodate a larger screen might be a bit too €œmajor€ for the company right now. 

8. Mobility is a primary concern 

There€™s nothing wrong with a 4-inch screen when it comes to viewing content. However, if the reports are true and Apple will be delivering a taller iPhone this year, that could be a problem. Don€™t forget: many people put their iPhones into their pockets. If the device is too tall, they might not like how it fits. And Apple knows it. Mobility is extremely important to Apple and making the iPhone wider or taller might not be something it wants to do. 

9. Design compromises 

Over the years, Apple has unveiled a host of products seemingly lacking important features customers want. When asked why it left something out, Apple says that it can force too many design compromises. The company made that claim with 4G LTE. The big question now, is what sort of design compromises might a larger display deliver? If it€™s too much, look for Apple to keep avoiding it. 

10. What€™s the point? 

When it€™s all said and done, Apple and its customers must ask one very important question about a large display in the iPhone 5. What€™s the point of having it? Apple customers are happy with the iPhone 4S and its 3.5-inch screen and adding a half-inch just doesn€™t seem to be that big a deal. Maybe it€™s better for Apple to stick with the 3.5-inch screen and be done with it. 

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