Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed rumors of an iPhone 5S or iPhone 6 with a larger screen during the Apple Q1 2013 earnings call, telling investors Apple picked the right screen size when upgrading to a 4-inch Retina Display.
In typical Apple fashion Cook carefully dodged directly talking about rumors and upcoming products when answering a question about the growing screen sizes on Android smartphones from Goldman Sachs Analyst Bill Shope.
Shope packed a number of questions into his time talking to Cook, but the biggest question was, “Do you think there is a long-term case for a larger screen size or at least the larger variety of screen sizes for iPhones and for the smartphone category in general?”
Tim Cook responded, affirming Apple’s 4-inch screen size choice.
The iPhone 5 offers as you know a new 4-inch Retina display, which is the most advanced display in the industry and no one comes close to matching the level of quality as the Retina display. It also provides a larger screen size for iPhone customers without sacrificing the one headed ease-of-use that our customers love. So, we put a lot of thinking into screen size and believe we’ve picked the right one.
Cook’s answer highlights Apple’s continual claim that screens larger than 4-inches make one-handed use difficult and is likely also aimed at appeasing developers who would need to accommodate yet another screen size if Apple made a larger iPhone 5S or iPhone 6.
Even though Tim Cook believes Apple, “picked the right one”, when going with a 4-inch display on the iPhone 5, that doesn’t mean the company will never increase the iPhone screen size, but Apple has shown it is willing to stick with a screen size for longer than the competition.
Larger Android smartphone screens of 4 to 4.3-inches undoubtedly played a part in Apple’s decision to shift to a larger 4-inch Retina Display for the iPhone 5.The competition in 2013 is rumored to bring larger smartphone screens across the board. We’ve found that larger screens don’t always mean sacrificing one-handed use.
The following smartphones will go up against the iPhone 5 and either the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6 later this year, all with larger screens.
- Nexus 4 – 4.7-inch
- HTC M7 – 4.8-inch (rumored)
- Samsung Galaxy S4 – 4.99-inch (rumored)
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - 6.3-inch (rumored)
The question, and Cook’s answer didn’t address the growing screen resolution and pixel density trends. We expect flagship smartphones from Samsung and HTC will use 1080P HD displays with up to 440 pixels-per-inch, delivering sharper, better looking displays.
If Apple remains tied to the 4-inch screen size for the long-term we may see the company compete on resolution, though this would likely need additional action from developers.
iPhone 5S Rumors
The next iPhone may carry the iPhone 5S name, and rumors are already swirling about what users might expect from Apple later this year.
The iPhone 5S is rumored to arrive with color options, and while we’ve heard rumors of a larger screen, it’s more likely that those rumors are based on prototypes for the iPhone 6 or beyond.
On a security front, iPhone 5S rumors say the new iPhone will feature a fingerprint reader capable of securing the smartphone.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo with KGI Securities, an analyst with a good track record on Apple moves, believes Apple will announce the iPhone 5S in June with a new Apple A7 processor and a better rear camera.