By Matt Burns
The Wall Street Journal made waves yesterday. Citing unnamed sources, the Journal reported Apple (AAPL) is ordering larger touchscreens for the next iPhone. Now, citing its own unnamed sources, Reuters somewhat confirmed the reported. Prepare yourself, iPhone diehards. All signs point to a larger iPhone.
The thought of a larger iPhone clearly scares people. Read the comments on my post yesterday, "It's Time For A Larger iPhone." They say 3.5-inches is the best size. You don't have to move your thumb to navigate the whole screen, they say. A phone with a 3.5-inch screen fits in my hipster jeans!
But really, the main underlying thread seems to be some people are afraid that, just perhaps, Apple will adopt something from Android like the trend of a larger screen. Scary, I know.
Change is hard. Apple has used the same form factor for 4 iPhone generations spanning 5 years. The iPhone 4, and the 4S for that matter, is still one of the best looking phones on the market, with an impossibly thin design and stunning good looks. But it's time for a change. Besides, logic and other credible rumors point to an internal change that might be forcing Apple's hand in using a larger screen.
Along with a larger screen, the next iPhone is said to have 4G data connectivity. This requires a new mobile chipset, which, as proven by the new iPad presents a new set of challenges. Instead of growing the iPad's height and width (and therefore the screen size), the new iPad was made a bit thicker to accommodate the larger battery needed to power the 4G chipset and retina display. Apple doesn't have that luxury with the iPhone. The next iPhone cannot be thicker than the current iPhone. But it can be taller.
4G chipsets are generally not as mature as their 3G counterparts. They require more power and thus require a larger battery. Instead of making the iPhone thicker, logic suggests that Apple would then make the phone a bit taller, making room for a larger, likely retina, display.
This change will likely upset the Apple diehards. As the screen size increased on Android phones, iPhone users took to Internet comments and forums to defend the smallish iPhone's 3.5-inch screen. It seems sooner versus later now, Apple will use a different screen for the iPhone. Change is hard.