9to5mac posted yesterday, that Apple is in fact testing 4″ iPhones right now:
Right now we know of a few next-generation iPhone candidates in testing. These prototype phones are floating around Apple HQ in thick, locked shells in order to disguise the exterior design to “undisclosed” employees. We know of two next-generation iPhones in testing with a larger display: the iPhone 5,1 and iPhone 5,2. These phones are in the PreEVT stage of development and are codenamed N41AP (5,1) and N42AP (5,2).
Both of these phones sport a new, larger display that is 3.999 inches diagonally. Apple will not just increase the size of the display and leave the current resolution, but will actually be adding pixels to the display. The new iPhone display resolution will be 640 x 1136. That’s an extra 176 pixels longer of a display. The screen will be the same 1.9632 inches wide, but will grow to 3.484 inches tall. This new resolution is very close to a 16:9 screen ratio, so this means that 16:9 videos can play full screen at their native aspect ratio.
Daring Fireball’s John Gruber seems to agree, that this is going to happen – which makes it an almost certainty.
What I’ve heard from a couple of little birdies is only that Apple has been noodling with increasing the height of the display, keeping the width and pixel density exactly the same as on the iPhone 4 and 4S. I had not heard an exact pixel number for the new height. 1152 made some sense, but doing some math after reading Weintraub’s report, 1136 makes a lot of sense.
Mathematically this makes sense, but how about UX?
I really hope this isn’t true. 3:2 works really well for iOS devices right now. 16:9, which is the ratio Apple would go to if this turns out to be true, isn’t good for anything but HD video.
How many times do you watch full HD video on your phone? Seriously.
Also keep in mind that lots of content is being shown in 4:3 or other ratios that would still give you those nasty black bars.
I get why you would want more screen real estate on a smartphone. I recently tried a friend’s Galaxy Nexus with it’s 4,3″ screen and it was very nice having a larger screen, but the Nexus also has a wider screen and that makes all the difference. Just stretching the screen, the way it is mentioned in these articles, just doesn’t make sense to me.
I guess most apps wouldn’t be affected too much, but apps that can’t be “stretched” by default, like games, would look horrible. The same goes for books and magazines. I really can’t see Apple doing this to their developers. Maybe the iOS 6 beta, most likely to be introduced during WWDC on June, 11th, will give us some clues as to what Apple is planning.
In the meantime I suggest you read Jesus Diaz’ article at Gizmodo. I fully agree with him, and even though I know that Gruber is well-connected, I call bullshit on a 1136×640 iPhone.