Four Inches

Myke and I talked at length about Apple’s event today, but I thought I’d write out some of my thoughts here.

The obvious news here is the iPhone 5’s bigger screen. At 4 inches and 1136 x 640, the new layout is 16:9 — perfect for movies in landscape, and no wider. Apps that don’t scale or fit will be letterboxed at the top and bottom.

While I know very little about app development, from the people I’ve spoken to today, moving to this new screen shouldn’t be nearly as much work as going to Retina was. In short, Apple changed the physical screen size of the iPhone in the easiest possible way.

The question, though, is why. For five years, the iPhone has had a 3.5 inch screen.

As with most things, I think a combination of factors are at play.

With LTE on board, Apple presumably needed to increase the size of the battery. As this image shows, Apple is using the increased height provided by the larger screen to include a bigger battery. Here’s Dave Caolo:

According to Apple, users can expect up to 8 hours browsing time on LTE, up to 8 hours on 3G and up to 10 hours over Wi-Fi. Total standby time is listed as 225 hours. The iPhone 4S delivered up to 6 hours browsing on 3G, up to 9 hours over Wi-Fi and total standby time up to 200 hours.

Another factor could be the general direction of the market toward bigger phones. Maybe it was just time for a change.

Maybe Jony Ive’s hands are bigger than they look on video.