iPhone 6 with larger, sharper 1704 x 960 resolution screen in testing


Apple is preparing to release a new iPhone with a larger screen later this year, and while multiple reports have indicated that the screen will be larger, the exact dimensions of the screen and its resolution have so far been guesswork.

Some industry watchers have speculated that Apple could stretch the iPhone software’s interface and retain the iPhone 5s’s screen resolution of 1136 x 640. This approach would allow all iOS software and App Store apps to function normally on the iPhone 6 without work from developers. The downside of this approach would be that the iPhone 6’s display would fall below Steve Jobs’ somewhat arbitrary 300 pixels per inch definition of ‘Retina’ for a phone.

Just like with the transition to the iPhone 4’s Retina display in 2010 and the transition to the iPhone 5’s taller screen in 2012, Apple is preparing major resolution changes for the iPhone 6 that will require software changes by both Apple and developers, according to people briefed on the specifications of the new device…

History of screen changes:

Before discussing the resolution and scaling changes for the next-generation iPhone, it is important to understand the history of the iPhone’s screen. Back in 2007, Apple introduced the original iPhone with a display with a resolution of 320 x 480. That is 320 pixels horizontally and 480 pixels vertically with a diagonal screen size of 3.5-inches. Apple retained this screen with the succeeding iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 11.48.19 AM

In 2010, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone 4 with Retina display.

The iPhone 4’s screen was much sharper than its predecessors’ displays, but the actual screen size was exactly the same as the previous iPhones. To create this effect, Apple quadrupled the number of pixels in the display panel and doubled the pixel density of the graphics across iOS in each direction in order to create a sharper screen with the same physical button sizes across the system. The new resolution was 640 x 960, which is double the prior iPhone’s resolution on both axes.

The move from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4 doubled the iPhone screen’s pixel density from 163 PPI to 326 PPI, and Apple claims that a display density over 300 PPI is considered “Retina” quality. With the move to the Retina display, iOS automatically rendered text and core system elements at the new “2X” resolution, but both Apple and third-party App Store developers were required to redesign all of their graphics in order for the images to appear sharp. Otherwise, the smaller images would render at two times their actual size, which would cause a pixelated effect.

Apple introducing taller iPhone 5 display

In late-2012 with the iPhone 5, Apple enlarged the iPhone’s panel to 4-inches diagonally.


Apple retained the iPhone 4’s horizontal resolution of 640, but it increased the height of the iPhone 5 to 1136 pixels on the vertical axis, a story we broke almost exactly two years ago this month. The same 2X scaling mode from the iPhone 4’s Retina display technology was retained as was the density of 326 pixels-per-inch.

From a developer’s perspective, the current iPhone 5/5s/5c display has a resolution of 568 x 320, up from 480 x 320 in the original iPhone. However, there are actually twice as many pixels in each direction to create a sharper image. In other words, an iPhone 5s with a non-Retina (or “1X”) display would have an actual resolution of 568 x 320 (which is the 1136 x 640 resolution divided by 2). We’ll call this the “base resolution” of the iPhone 5/5s/5c.

3X mode:

Fast forward to 2014, and Apple is preparing to make another significant screen adjustment to the iPhone. Instead of retaining the current resolution, sources familiar with the testing of at least one next-generation iPhone model say that Apple plans to scale the next iPhone display with a pixel-tripling (3X) mode.

This means that Apple will likely be tripling the aforementioned “base resolution” (568 x 320) of the iPhone screen in both directions, and that the iPhone screen resolution will be scaled with an increase of 150% from the current 2X resolution of 1136 x 640. Of course, Apple tests several different iPhones and display technologies, so it is possible that Apple chooses to take another route for display specifications for the 2014 iPhone upgrade.

1704 likely the new 1136:

568 tripled is 1704 and 320 tripled is 960, and sources indicate that Apple is testing a 1704 x 960 resolution display for the iPhone 6. Tripling the iPhone 5’s base resolution would mean that the iPhone 6’s screen will retain the same 16:9 aspect ratio as the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, and iPhone 5c.

Previously leaked iPhone 6 schematics from Foxconn indicate that the display will remain 16:9, and this further lends credence to the aforementioned resolution being in testing. This image shows a 16:9 iPhone screenshot overlaid onto the schematics:


Based on the new resolution and evidence from leaked iPhone 6 parts, it seems like the new iPhone’s display will be both taller and slightly wider. This is in comparison to the iPhone 4’s screen size not changing during the transition to Retina and 2X mode and the iPhone 5’s transition to the taller, but not wider, 4-inch screen.

Denser screens:

While the new iPhone’s resolution is certainly higher, the screen’s overall sharpness is based on the screen’s pixel density. The two most commonly discussed diagonal screen sizes for the next iPhone are 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches. Here’s what the pixel densities would be for both of those screen sizes assuming each uses the new 3X scaling mode and 1704 x 960 resolution:

4.7-inches diagonal would feature a display density of 416 PPI:

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 11.00.56 PM

5.5-inches diagonal would feature a display density of 356 PPI:

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 11.01.16 PM

So, regardless of whether Apple goes with a 4.7-inch or 5.5-inch panel—or both—the new iPhone(s) will have significantly more dense screens in comparison to current and past iPhones, which will result in crisper text, images, and video for users of the next-generation Apple smartphones. Also, by definition, both screens will have pixel densities that fit comfortably within Apple’s threshold for a “Retina” display.

Larger iOS interface:


The larger and denser next-generation iPhone display means that iOS’s user-interface will become slightly larger and sharper unless Apple re-architects the layout of iOS to become more optimized for the new screen. The mockup images created by 9to5‘s Michael Steeber above and below demonstrate raw pixel scale between the iPhone 5/5s/5c’s 640 x 1136 resolution display and the iPhone 6’s probable 960 x 1704 resolution screen.


The sources say that core user interface elements, from iOS functions like the Home screen, Notification Center, and Settings panels, will simply appear like larger versions of those functions on the current iPhone display. However, sources also say it is likely that developers and Apple itself will be able to optimize some applications to better utilize the larger screen area. It is possible Apple could revamp the Home screen and other functions between now and this fall’s launch.


For example, it would make sense for Apple to allow for applications like Safari and Maps to better take advantage of the new screen space. Game developers may choose to reposition their controls for an improved gaming experience. This screen size shift varies from the transition from the iPhone 4/4S to the iPhone 5/5s/5c, which simply entailed making the screen taller. This allowed Apple to show more new messages in Mail and add another row of Home screen icons.

iOS Simulator:

To test how iOS 7 would react to the 3X resolution mode for the next iPhone model, prominent developer Steven Troughton-Smith modified the publicly available iOS Simulator application used for App Store software development. The screenshots displayed in the above mockups are sourced from that modified simulator. As can be seen in the images above, core system functions like Spotlight and the Home screen scale fairly well automatically, but applications like Calendar will need some new graphics under the hood. Apple is said to be (unsurprisingly) working on optimizing all graphics across iOS to fit the new 3X mode, so customers will experience sharp graphics across the new device. If you click the above images, you can download them in the full 1704 x 960 resolution.

Developer transition:

Back in 2010 when Apple began the transition from the standard iPhone display to the Retina display, iOS’s user-interface aesthetic was driven by Steve Jobs’ and Scott Forstall’s taste in “skeuomorphic” design. This meant a casino and green felt-themed Game Center app, a yellow legal pad-styled Notes app, and a Calendar app bound by faux leather. Now, in 2014, Apple’s iOS design is led by Jony Ive, and features more prominent content, clear text, vector graphics, and animations.

According to developers, the new iOS design aesthetic’s reduced reliance on “raster” graphics means that apps can more easily be updated (or even be automatically updated) for the next iPhone’s denser, larger display panel. To prove this, Troughton-Smith tested two of his iPhone applications on the modified iPhone simulator to see how they would run. Speed (shown right) seems to run almost perfectly without any changes. Grace (shown left), another app of Troughton-Smith’s, also worked on the new display without any updates.

But, of course, not all apps will automatically run with a sharp look on the iPhone 6. According to sources familiar with the new iPhone displays in testing, if an unoptimized iPhone 5 app is run on the iPhone 6, the app will fill the entire screen but the non-3X images within the app will be blurrier. Troughton-Smith’s applications scale well because they were built with vector graphics. This transition from 2X to 3X will be reminiscent to the transition from 1X to 2X when the first iPhones with Retina displays launched in 2010.

Multi-resolution tools: 

Apple has been working on a new “multi-resolution” mode and developer toolset for future iOS devices that allows developers to more easily scale their applications to work on multiple new iOS device resolutions. It is likely that developers will be provided with these tools later this year so that they can begin work on optimizing apps (if even necessary) for the new iPhone’s display. Apple typically does not preview new hardware features months in advance, so Apple is unlikely to reveal the larger iPhone display size at WWDC early next month.

Stronger chip:


Sources also say that Apple has developed a new A8 system-on-a-chip for the next iPhone that focuses on marginal speed improvements rather than core architectural changes, but adds significant performance and efficiency enhancements in order to improve the iPhone’s battery life. With a larger, higher-resolution display combined with the next iPhone’s far thinner body, the A8 chip will be essential to maintaining the seamless, fluid iPhone experience that Apple prides itself on. Besides a new processor, it is likely that the new iPhone will include improved LTE components for voice-over-LTE support and various other new hardware elements.

Future Apple devices:

Apple’s new hardware- and software-based display technologies likely opens up the door for a flurry of future, higher-resolution iOS devices.

Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously indicated that Apple is working on a sharper full-size iPad, so perhaps in the same way that Apple transitioned the iPhone to 2X before the iPad, the new 3X iPhone resolution will be a precursor to improved iPad displays.

Apple is also on working on some secret new iOS device form factors, high-resolution external monitors, and wearable displays, so perhaps these new technologies play into those future hardware products as well.

iOS 8 features and WWDC:


Before introducing fresh iPhone hardware later this year, Apple will use the WWDC stage in June to discuss the next iPhone’s operating system, iOS 8. In addition to building in support for the new hardware, the new operating system features a slew of enhancements, applications, and refinements.

New applications in iOS 8 likely include a Healthbook app for tracking health and fitness data, an enhanced Maps app with public transit directions support, and a standalone iTunes Radio app. Other enhancements, including a new split-screen multitasking view for the iPad, will round-out the feature-set.

Sources say that Apple is seriously considering pushing back some of iOS 8’s functionality to iOS 8.1 or even later versions of iOS, including the transit mode in the Maps app.

Regardless of what Apple announces, we’ll be covering WWDC extensively and looking out for more clues to what features the next iPhone will include. The latest reports indicate that Apple is preparing to launch a 4.7-inch iPhone model in August and a larger, “phablet” model with a 5.5-inch screen in September.

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  1. Sam (@samtf1) - 9 years ago

    Nice “iPhone 6” mock up at the top there, with the bezel wider on the left than the right…

    • dcj001 - 9 years ago

      “the iPhone screen resolution will be scaled with an increase of 150% from the current 2X resolution of 1136 x 640.”

      You mean “an increase of 50% from the current 2X resolution of 1136 x 640.” Don’t you, Mark?

      • Chris Redfield - 9 years ago

        You mean the iPhone 6 still won’t produce video in 1080p??? Weak.

    • Gabriel Hutchinson - 9 years ago

      They give you all that facts and figures and that’s all you have to say at the end? Lol, nicely pointed out though.

    • Alba Silva - 9 years ago

      I have found another mock up, but in 3D WebGL, so you can make it turn with the mouse (also specs) If you wanna have a look to have a better idea how the iphone 6 will look like here it is:

  2. SleptOn (@JxSleptOn) - 9 years ago

    They really need to do something with the missed notifications column. Completely useless. Widgets?

  3. Taste_of_Apple - 9 years ago

    Things are heating up, as we get closer to the official unveiling around September.

  4. rettun1 - 9 years ago

    Mark is on a roll. I wonder what else he is holding back from us…

  5. Logan Fadeley - 9 years ago

    bezel please go.

    • David Hope - 9 years ago

      I agree 100%…The bezel on the sides needs to go!! Apple has an opportunity here to have the first phone with no side bezel. The rendering they are showing here looks simply like a larger version of the iPhone 5s from the front……unimaginative, boring!! We want the iPhone 6 to really break new ground in phone design, not just look like a larger version of the 5s. I hope these renderings are not correct, and that the REAL iPhone 6 dazzles us with fresh new design!

      • It’s not exactly a choice to have bezels. Apple has a great engineering team but I don’t know whether or not that’s possible.

  6. sovanbu - 9 years ago

    Very nice article! Rarely do I read an entire article or take the time to comment but recently I have become annoyed with bgr.com and their headline tactics to always include “HUGE LEAK, THE BIGGEST LEAK YET!”

    It’s good to see a well thought out in depth article over here.

  7. Karthik - 9 years ago

    1920×1080 and DPI, lets the comments begin! WAR!

  8. danbridgland - 9 years ago

    So does this mean that running with the iPhone 5/5s/5c’s resolution of 640 x 1136 was a mistake? I mean, it’s not as though the technology wasn’t ready… Android vendors have been peddling screen this size for 3+ years

    • danbridgland - 9 years ago

      Come to think of it, the iPhone 4/4s 640 / 960 resolution was only around for two years also, perhaps that’s the new trend. A biennial screen resolution bump?

      • jrox16 - 9 years ago

        7.6″ screen on the iPhone 7S in 2016!! = p

    • Tallest Skil - 9 years ago

      How on Earth do you come to that conclusion?

    • Aspect Ratio of 71:40 (yes these are the actual numbers) seams like a very wick copy of 16:9 aspect ratio which btw. was avoided by apple for many years and replaced with a with a more functional 16:10 aspect ratio.
      Tripling the basic size seams like another desperate attempt of copying android devices.
      Don’t get me wrong, I’m an Apple user for a long time but I’m getting more disappointed every year :(

  9. icrew - 9 years ago

    Several reactions:

    1) I’m still holding out hope for 1080p, at least for the 5.5″ model. At 5.5″, it becomes a very viable platform for watching video, and having that be as crisp as possible would be lovely (and would probably sell a bunch more of the max-storage-size version).

    2) I hope that they don’t simply move to the 3x size while keeping the base resolution at 568 x 320. Having a larger, higher-resolution screen that can’t display any more information than the current 4″ model would be pointless in the extreme.

    3) If you’re going to make legacy apps be fuzzier/more pixellated, scaling older apps from 2x the base resolution to 3x the base resolution isn’t any better than (less fuzzy than) scaling them to any other 16×9 resolution, like 1080P. And at the PPI values we’re discussing, that difference would be pretty subtle anyway.

    4) 1080P screens are quickly becoming an industry standard, at whatever size. By moving to that resolution, Apple would greatly increase their supply chain flexibility.

    5) Continuing to give developers the crutch of accommodating fixed resolutions based on the quarter-VGA choice for the original iPhone is ultimately counterproductive. Apple needs to give themselves more flexibility in iOS resolutions, and needs to be pushing their developers to write code to accommodate that. As both Android and MacOS support lots of different resolutions, this should be something that is well within most of their developers’ skill sets.

    • degraevesofie - 9 years ago

      1) I don’t think there would be a maked-eye-visible difference between 960×1704 and 1080p.

      2) The “base resolution” thing is just a software units issue. It doesn’t limit anything because the graphic coordinates are floating-point values in iOS.

      3) I’m not sure I completely understand what you say there, but scaling up by half an integer factor (like 1.5 in this case) is second best to an integer factor (as was done for the 3S->4 transition): You get realignment every two rows/columns, and the anti-aliasing on the other rows/columns is as straightforward as it gets. (You’re right that at these resolutions the difference is subtle. The trickiest issue is dealing with rendered curves that were finely tuned to pixel-match at some resolution: They might no longer quite match when scaling with non-integers, though the half-integer scaling suffers less from that effect.)

      4) With the quantities Apple orders this is not actually an issue, even if they spread supply over 3 or 4 providers.

      5) Maybe, but the nearly-fixed-resolution model encourages pixel-perfect fixed-layout software design, which does appear to result in nicer software offerings than for platforms that assume dynamic layout is the norm.

      • George Ou (@GeorgeOu) - 9 years ago

        It’s true that there isn’t a huge difference between 1080 vertical pixels and 960 vertical pixels and that it will be very difficult for the naked eye to tell the difference. But it will demand resampling 1080P video from 1920×1080 to 1704×960. That resampling will not be a perfect process and is bound to have some artifacts. The resampling issue is a much bigger problem than the slightly lower resolution.

  10. montefuego - 9 years ago

    1) I’m still holding out hope for 1080p, at least for the 5.5″ model. At 5.5″, it becomes a very viable platform for watching video, and having that be as crisp as possible would be lovely (and would probably sell a bunch more of the max-storage-size version).
    There is no point in having 1080p at this size, as your eye would be completely unable to see the difference. It would simply slow the thing down, increase bandwidth requirements, and so on. As Steve Jobs said, you cannot see a difference in resolution above 300 dpi. In other words, 600 dpi and 300 dpi look exactly the same, but 600 dpi requires four times the data. A complete waste.
    If you want a higher quality display, then bit depth (tonal range) and color space are the areas to seek improvements.

    • icrew - 9 years ago

      “As Steve Jobs said, you cannot see a difference in resolution above 300 dpi.”

      Actually, as with many things that are part of the Jobsian Reality Distortion Field, that’s not exactly accurate. See this excellent explanation from a couple of years back: http://www.cultofmac.com/173702/why-retina-isnt-enough-feature/ The short version: That article compellingly argues that [a] Apple’s “Retina” calculation figures on 20/20 eyesight, which most people with normal vision don’t degrade to until they’re in their 60s and [b] that a true retina display would be more like 950PPI when held at the distance of a phone.

      So, the 400 PPI of a 1080P 5.5″ screen would still be very definitely a usable improvement. Also, having to interpolate 1080P video to a slightly-lower resolution would add a lot of fuzziness that wouldn’t otherwise be there.

      • montefuego - 9 years ago

        Great point about interpolation. Yes, it would have been better if they had started with multiples of 1080p from the beginning.
        But in terms of absolute resolution, I stand by my original statement. I am a professional cinematographer, I shoot and look at professional screens all day long. 720p looks great at least up to a 10″ monitor, and in fact most 17″ monitors do not exceed this resolution. 1080p comes in when you go bigger.
        Even if you could see a slightly sharper picture, it would not affect your appreciation of the image. But color and tonal depth make a huge difference. Video standards in the future are heading in exactly that direction.

    • Michael Perry - 9 years ago

      Apples ‘retina’ assertions were proved wrong by scientists (as apposed to Apple marketers) several times over in several published articles. This is simply not true. You would very easily be able to distinguish let’s say a 1080P resolution vs. a 720P resolution, especially at 5.5″.

      • montefuego - 9 years ago

        Have you looked at a moving video image at both resolutions, at a normal viewing distance? You would not be able to distinguish the difference. I doubt you could even see a difference in a high resolution still photograph. And if you could, it would not make any difference in your experience of the photograph.
        What you will experience is contrast, color, bit depth. I am talking from my own experience, not from some article–that you haven’t specifically referenced. I am on a panel that evaluates monitors for future television standards. A 2K monitor with superior bit depth and contrast looks better than a 4K monitor without those qualities. So it’s not so simple an issue.

    • I do see pixels on my iPhone 5 if I take it a little closer to my face. Not a big deal, but there’s room for improvement. I guess next iPhone will go beyond 400dpi

      • ConfusedCountry - 9 years ago

        At 4 inches away from my eyes I can see the Atoms fly by, and at 2 1/2 inches from my eyes I can count the electrons orbiting the atoms. It’s very annoying. I wish they would fix that.

  11. Michael Perry - 9 years ago

    Apple is annoying sometimes, really…. They tend to make things sooooo complicated and just odd. Why not just user a normal, industry standard, screen resolution like 1080P? Sure I understand that they put themselves in this corner by using non standard resolutions to start with but why not take the opportunity afforded by the screen size change to start using real standards?

    • scottwilkins - 9 years ago

      To make it even worse, this oddity is extremely “old school” in computing standards. Even Android and WP8 are able to scale in real time to any size screen. That the iPhone was never made to do that, even though OSx and Windows both already had this and had it for a very long time, just shows that they were trying too hard to match very old methods of programming and simplicity just to get software written for the iPhone. It is more complicated to write software to work in non-raster environments unfortunately. Though modern tools continue to make it easier every day.

    • Deepankar Roy (@roy1608) - 9 years ago

      When has apple ever stuck to “standards”?

      • jrox16 - 9 years ago

        Actually, Apple was one of the biggest forces behind the popularization of many our modern computing standards like USB and the mouse… You’ve got it all wrong.


        Apple also implemented the BlueTooth stack into OS X 10.2 which came out in 2002, while Windows didn’t until XP service pack 2 released in 2004.

        Apple has a long history of championing standards in their computers. They have not held to industry standards with their mobile devices in a few places, notably screen resolution and data port/charging port (which is good because microUSB is a shit connector).

    • Tallest Skil - 9 years ago

      Because they know better than some spec whores on the Internet what power and processing demands equal in their products.

    • charilaosmulder - 9 years ago

      Following the “standards” isn’t always the best option. There is nothing about the exact pixel count of 1920×1080 that should make you sleep better at night. It just happens to be the resolution of SOME videos, others being 720p or some of the upcoming higher res videos or even 21:9 videos and so on.

      But even if all videos were exactly 1080p, it would be bad practice to design the iPhones screen around just those 1080p videos since watching videos probably occupies somewhere south of 5% of the time you use your iPhone. It would be an android-like disaster if Apple didn’t have their extremely consistent pixel density across all iOS devices. Devs know exactly how to design with precision and consistency, their artwork has the exact same size on all devices (relative to your eye, as the full sized iPad has a different density because its held at a different distance from your eye).

      1080p on 4.7″ would be a meaningless difference of 43.9% in density compared to iPads and earlier iPhones, and apps that arent optimised would look blurry and awful. If the 5.5″ version (I still hope the rumors about it are jokes) would have the same “standard 1080p resolution” that would be even worse, both for consumers and for developers.

  12. tcbritt - 9 years ago

    Screen dimensions at this resolution:
    4.7 inch diag
    104 mm by 58.60 mm
    5.5 inch diag
    121.70 mm by 68.60 mm

  13. Yes (@AMillah) - 9 years ago

    I know anything Mark Gurman reports can be fairly trustworthy. However, I am just a tad disappointed that it sounds like iOS will just be scaled larger and sharper @3x. I was kind of hoping that the interface would have grown more expansive with the interface remaining the same size. I guess that could still be the case. Either way, I knew the resolution would either be a 3X increase or whatever resolution would have kept the same 326PPI so the interface would remain the same size but with more room on screen to add stuff.

  14. App file sizes keep getting larger, probably in part because the images have to be larger and larger to keep up with the increase in screen size, but they haven’t scaled up the storage space. How is 8/16 GB sufficient as a base capacity anymore?!?!

  15. Tom Smith (@tommstep) - 9 years ago

    Wonder if the company Pixelworks is behind the technology, any idea? They are releasing mobile chip (has been under development for long time) and rumor a few in the stock market is that Apple paid them $10M recently for milestone payments. Payment was disclosed couple months ago in the end of year report (forced to disclose for SEC rules…> than 10% customer)

    • Tom Smith (@tommstep) - 9 years ago

      Also released recently was that the former SVP of Apple mobile has been working with Pixelworks since 2012 (maybe around the time development started?) and has now joined the board of directors. Just trying to put 2 and 2 together.

  16. Franklin McMahon - 9 years ago

    Great informed article, excellent job!

    I am excited for the 5.5 inch screen, I had a Galaxy Note II for a while to see how the other half lives and while I did not care for Android, having a screen that size is fantastic.

    Question..how will websites be handled at that size? Will it launch the mobile version or go right to the desktop version?

  17. charilaosmulder - 9 years ago

    This makes no sense. @3x resolution of 568×320 would KIND OF make sense on the current iPhone 5/5c/5s displays. UI elements would keep their current size (as they should because they’re based on thumb size). Even on an iPhone 5 display it would suck quite a bit, because @2x graphics would appear blurry as 2 pixels can’t be pixel doubled to 3 pixels (meaning @4x would be the next logical step).

    But stretching what would be @3x on an iPhone 5 to a larger 4.7″ display would be a total disaster. UI elements will become bigger-than thumb sized, labels can’t display more characters despite the larger screen. And all those websites that are optimized for mobile by being scalable should receive more than 320 non-retina dots in width to automatically increase the column width of text.

    The worst part of it all would be that an @3x iPhone 5 resolution on a 4.7″ device would be something of a @2.5x density compared to all retina iPhones thus far.

    The only logical possible solution is upping the pixel count from 1136×640 to 1334×752, this way keeping the 328ppi of all retina iPhones and the exact size of all UI elements, while introducing new dot dimensions to scalable things like websites (667×376 as opposed to 568×320). This is the exact same way the iPad handles the extra screen real estate. (note that the full size iPads have the same pixel density to the human eye as iPhones and iPad minis because they/re meant to be held further away from your eyes).

    Let alone that those excessively high resolutions are the worst thing to happen to performance. Remember “the new iPad” (3rd gen)? Terribly slow and a total letdown after the iPad 2. I’ve played some of the most graphically intense games on 1080p android phones like the Nexus 5. Those games both look worse AND lag more compared to my 2 year old iPhone 5. Let alone expect infinity blade 3 graphics as seen on iPhone 5s on such resolutions.

    • Stetson - 9 years ago

      I would think that the default mode for non-updated apps would be to scale them up to that new resolution, resulting in larger text and UI elements.

      Apps that have been updated for the new resolution could adjust their UI to have normal sized text and UI elements and take advantage of the large amount of screen real estate.

      • charilaosmulder - 9 years ago

        Apple is either going to stretch existing apps or show them in a similar manner iPhone 4 apps were shown on an iPhone 5. Both options are awkward but I believe apple will choose for the latter. It’s bad if people get used to oversized UI and use normal sized UI simultaneously in other apps on the same device. Especially varying keyboards would be a disaster (ever used the iPhone keyboard on an iPad?). Furthermore stretching would be ugly since apps can’t be pixel doubled (its a nasty 17,5% scaling). leaving apps as they are, centered in the bigger display would be the best design compromise I believe.

    • nardno - 9 years ago

      thank you. The ‘We’ll call this the “base resolution” of’ is where it all falls apart. having a X2 on the iphone 5/s and a X3 on the new ‘must have’ units ruins it for devs and/or users. If Apple completely caves to ‘market growth is on bigger phones’ it would certainly show in a scheme like is described. This is not about making the best product, it’s about following the market and playing me too. That’s really really sad for anyone who’s been delighted with great products from apple in the past. They are not invested in making the best, they’re invested in quant metrics of an existing market…. Godspeed users….

  18. Mike Roberts - 9 years ago

    300 DPI is not an arbitrary number. It’s the standard resolution for digital printing.

    • jrox16 - 9 years ago

      And the point at which pixels are invisible on a phone held at an average use distance

  19. Andet - 9 years ago

    Nice design and performance

  20. dcj001 - 9 years ago

    “the iPhone screen resolution will be scaled with an increase of 150% from the current 2X resolution of 1136 x 640.”

    You mean “an increase of 50% from the current 2X resolution of 1136 x 640.” Don’t you, Mark?

    • jrox16 - 9 years ago

      Haha, i think you’re right… it’s a syntax issue. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think the following is true:


      The difference in syntax/grammar is subtle but very meaningful in results. An “increase of 150% from the current” == 2840 X 1600.

      It’s nitpicking at it’s finest though, sorry Mark. :-)

  21. drtyrell969 - 9 years ago

    Reminds me of the first iPod. The comments on here are so evidently PR posts from some foreign country. Reads like Yahoo movie reviews, “Best film this summer!” “Really liked it!”

  22. jrox16 - 9 years ago

    Bezels way too big

  23. Raymond Walker - 9 years ago

    How about we talk about what MOBILE PHONE users really want. Make the thing water and shock-proof. If you really care about a larger screen, then get an iPad!

  24. Cun Con - 9 years ago

    That resolution gives 6″ screen 326 dpi which is Apple standard retina display. I don’t think it’s meant for iPhone 6 but a future product with 6″ screen…maybe iPad Nano? So there, Apple got it all: 6″, 8″ and 10″ iPad categories.

  25. Lucian Marin - 9 years ago

    I really hope that my web app (sublevel.net) will work at 3x. Multiplying things by 3 is so weird. I think Apple won’t release something like this.

  26. Paul Sagor (@psagor) - 9 years ago

    Why wouldn’t they double the retina resolution, i.e. 2272 x 1280, not triple the base resolution? If most other phones can achieve 1920 x 1080, this would be possible and more sensible. Retina apps at 1136 x 640 would work as is (just doubled). Developers would be happier too!

  27. cacema1987 - 9 years ago

    Nice article. But I don’t think Apple will release anything inferior to 1080p. When the iphone 5 came out very few smartphone had a greater ppi screen. The iPhone 5s just followed the s trade. Now there are even 2k screen coming out, and I presume that the 2015 iPhone 6s will have the same screen as the 2014 iPhone 6. Buy that time costumers would notice the big screen gap iphones would have.

  28. The thing that I don’t is why they took such great care to not change the DPI and amount of pixels wide when increasing to 4″, but are now increasing the width but not keeping the DPI the same. People are going to have to remake graphics. The ratio of width to pixels is going to change!

    My free app for getting organized (one of the most popular apps out in the past month or two), PaperBox (gopaperbox.com), should work reasonably well since it’s minimal graphics, but can you even making a game and having to update all of the graphics? Yikes!

  29. Michal Baranowicz - 9 years ago

    1. look at new BBK VIVO Xplay 3S : http://liaow.com/vivo-xplay-3s.php
    2.. look at new iPhone screen
    Choice is Yours :)

  30. Chris Redfield - 9 years ago

    So it STILL doesn’t display in 1080p??? C’mon man!!!!

  31. thirdmanphenomenon - 9 years ago

    If one might argue that the PCs are dying because of the tablets, the assumption of these Phablets rising in popularity is not too far off. Samsung has it with their Note 3, there is this Sony Xperia Z2, the Nokia Lumia 1060, I think this trend of bigger cellular devices in form of ‘phablets’ are a quite good strategic move and I think every mobile devices maker should join this competition if wanting to keep their market shares intact. So, Apple launching the iPhone6 might give its most bitter rival Samsung some pressure!

  32. macmuchmore - 9 years ago

    I understand the need for developers to have an “easy” upgrade path when it comes to screen resolution, and for that purpose, 1704 x 960 is very reasonable. I also understand that users will probably not be able to see a difference between 1704 x 960 and possible higher resolutions… My concern is that If Apple wants to be THE premium mobile phone, it may need to think beyond this upgrade path and just define a new higher screen resolution, i.e. 1080p (1920×1080), just to say they have it. Even that resolution is not the latest and greatest – just look to the new LG G3 for the biggest/best screen out there now.

    With all that being said – the Apple “ecosystem” of hardware, software, and services is probably more important to have than a huge high resolution screen. As for me, a bigger iPhone screen, regardless of its resolution, will be a huge improvement and I will definitely be upgrading from my iPhone 5 – because the experience is not just about the screen size. It would just be nice for Apple to be able to say that it has a screen closer to the LG G3’s resolution/size than to an iPhone 4 screen size. Apple needs to get more competitive with their hardware and software, because for a lot of customers, big/high res screen = premium phone – not to mention that android 4.4 is pretty nice.

  33. Based on this article, I’m going to hold on to my four-year-old iPhone 4 for a few more months.

    Architect is not a verb, it’s a noun. Please use design instead. Change “…unless Apple re-architects the layout…” to “…unless Apple redesigns the layout…”

  34. yeahitsme72 - 9 years ago

    The entire point of a ‘retina’ display is that you cannot see the pixels anymore at the viewing distance a phone is used at. So images do not become sharper and text does not become more clear going to a higher pixel density after you’ve already surpassed the eyes ability to perceive pixels.

    This is the trap that Android phones have fallen into. They’ve gone to screen densities to ‘one up’ Apple in a specs race, but in reality you cannot see the additional pixel density and having those extra pixels wastes cpu, memory and battery life. Which is another way of saying once you surpass the eyes ability to perceive pixels, there’s actually a downside to going more dense, it’s worse than having 0 benefit.

    So my hope is that Apple keeps the current phones pixel density and just adds pixels to accommodate the new size. All this talk of them needing 1080p is ludicrous. Either the human eye can see the pixels or it cannot. If it can still see pixels then for sure, up the pixel density. But once no one can see the pixels anymore it’s a waste. It’s like arguing over which is prettier, infra red or ultra violet, since neither can be perceive by humans it’s a poor use of time.

    Let Android users brag about 500 pixels per inch, their phone will be half an inch thick, weight 7 lbs, and still have crap battery life.

  35. Peter Sevcik (@pedrouan) - 9 years ago

    Thank you for the article. I look forward to the next posts, Mark

  36. Richard McRee - 9 years ago

    What is Apple doing for improved battery life on the ip 6. I would be willing to sacrifice a thicker phone for more battery life. My ip4s does not last a full day.

  37. Doug Nyren - 8 years ago

    Curios to know how big the new iPhone6 really is check out this article with side by side screenshots of iPhone5 compared to the new iPhone6 as well as a simulator tool that allows you to see how different websites/webpages and images will appear w/n the new iPhone: