Will taller Apple iPhone 5 allow for the same full screen thumb coverage?
Looking at a diagram comparing how easily a thumb can cover both today's 3.5 inch screen and the expected 4 inch display, you can see that a half inch makes a huge difference adding more of the yellow-colored "reach" area. A while back, when people were questioning Apple's decision to keep a 3.5 inch screen on its iconic smartphone in the face of ever growing Android models, it was determined that the Cupertino based company was more interested in keeping its customer's thumbs within easy reach of the entire screen. So the real question has to do with customer experience.
increased viewing space more than make up for the extra effort when touching the nether regions of the screen? This is something that Android users have had to adjust to and in the end, we see two of the platform's larger screened models, the Samsung Galaxy S III (4.8 inches) and the Samsung GALAXY Note (5.3 inches) both selling like hotcakes. And no Android user we know has suffered a sprained thumb or has complained about full-screen coverage.
If there is a difference between Apple iPhone users and those who sport an Android model, we will find out after the launch of the next iteration of the Apple iPhone. And then Apple will have another tough decision to make. If the new screen is universally accepted, does Apple go even bigger next year? And if iPhone users just don't like the larger screen, does Apple revert back to 3.5 inches? Actually, knowing Apple, the answer would be to keep growing the size of the screen on its smartphone to compete with Android and then offer the Apple iPhone mini, stuck at 3.5 inches for those who can't adapt to change.
1. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5531; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
It would seem that consumers want more than to be able to reach 90+% of the screen with their thumbs. How else can you explain the dominance of larger screens on smartphones these days?
13. E.N. (Posts: 2224; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)
All the best specs, faster speeds, better processors, better cameras, up to date software, etc are found on Android devices with the biggest screens. If you choose to go for a smaller screen, you tend to get less than amazing specs. Consumers don't have that much choice.
36. OptimusOne (Posts: 694; Member since: 22 May 2012)
look at LG motion or droid incredible 4g. they have pretty small screens but decent specs.
39. E.N. (Posts: 2224; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)
yes exactly my point. Their specs are "decent" but not the best. The best specs are reserved for phones with larger screen sizes. The LG Motion is 1.2 ghz dual core with a 5 megapixel camera for Metro PCS and the Motorola Droid Razr was rated better than the Droid Incredible 4G by both phonearena and the PA users.
46. anywherehome (Posts: 971; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)
do not forget about the biggest innovation with the iPhone 5:
ONE MORE ROW OF ICONS!!!
they patented it!
21. Apple-Royally- (Posts: 16; Member since: 24 Aug 2012)
But most user's hold there phones on there left hand and scroll
and type, and browse with there right hand.
26. Brewski (Posts: 119; Member since: 05 Jun 2012)
Not true. I am right-hand dominant and I EXCLUSIVLEY hold my phone in my right hand. The only time I ever use my left hand is if I need to use two hands. I cannot do anything with my left hand, even simple tasks such as stirring coffee. The screen on my phone is 4.3" and I can 80% of what I need with one hand.
45. anywherehome (Posts: 971; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)
I can do 100 % with 4.3''.....even with my small hands (thanks to my mother :)
29. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
I have been saying the same exact thing for over a year now.
If ppl every stopped and paid attention, they would be surprised how much they use both hands.
Using 2 hands like you described.....allows for a more secure grip of the phone.
23. Angkor (Posts: 108; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)
If you have only 1 hand buy 4" display smartphone is best for you, when you have 2 working hands buy a larger display and enjoy larger texts and photos good for your eyes.
35. Lucas777 (Posts: 2121; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)
part of it is that no high end specs are offered in a lower screen size… i wish they were… the one s is good, but its only on tmobile
and i think the graphic in this article is a little off… because when i had a captivate the screen size was great… my one x now is definitely too large-- i think 4 inches is a good size for thumb reaching
2. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 627; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)
"Actually, knowing Apple, the answer would be to keep growing the size of the screen on its smartphone to compete with Android and then offer the Apple iPhone mini, stuck at 3.5 inches for those who can't adapt to change."
No. No. No. Apple doesn't have more than one product in same category since iPhone. That's why I think they won't release iPad Mini, not to mention iPhone Mini. It's not Apple strategy at all, if they did that it would be very strange.
When it comes to the abovementioned problem, I agree. Apple is now under great pressure from market, and even 176 pixels more will make a huge difference in our minds... but the decision to go 16:9 is not "Appley" at all.
There's also something you need to know. They didn't choose 3.5 inches to be reachable with the palm of one hand, because global paradigm of smartphone established by iPhone is based on using two hands (pinch to zoom anyone?).
They also chose 3:2 ratio because 16:9 is only good for widescreen (horizontal) viewing of multimedia. It is a standard derived from video formats that are already compromise between historical 4:3 and 21:9.
16:9 is fundamentally wrong for smartphones that are mostly used in portrait mode. Other manufacturers use larger diagonals but 3:2 is the more efficient ratio, because we use it in portrait and landscape as weel. Also, 3:2 format is the A(n) format (A0, A1, A2, A3, A4...) of paper, based on perfect harmony of golden ratio, that is proven to be very readable.
So, either Apple is changing its game because of pressure and for the first time is not consistent with itself, or this is just a bunch of fake rumors.
7. downphoenix (Posts: 2267; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)
"No. No. No. Apple doesn't have more than one product in same category since iPhone. That's why I think they won't release iPad Mini, not to mention iPhone Mini. It's not Apple strategy at all, if they did that it would be very strange."
Ipod Classic, Ipod Touch, Ipod Nano (Which has underwent a few revisions of its own), and Ipod Shuffle. 4 different product lines for essentially the same function, a music player.
Why can't Apple have 2 different sizes of Ipads and Iphones?
9. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 627; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)
iPod belonged to pre-iPhone era and it's waiting for retirement. They keep it alive for little more just like MacBook, which is, very indicative, also turned to one-product-per-category system.
From iPhone, Apple is clearly following method of only one product and cutting prices of older ones. There are numerous resons why this is the best strategy. Dividing the market with "adaptive" products means also loosing this market.
Apple has became the most valuable company in history preciesly because of this strategy.
And this - introducing iPhone Mini would just show consumers that they are not equal in front of just one God... ups, phone... and it would loose it's cult status.
17. downphoenix (Posts: 2267; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)
They have 6 skus for the phones and 12 for the ipads. Per version. You have to factor in colors, memory sizes, and in the case of Ipads, Wifi or 3g/4g and Wifi. So you're wrong here.
19. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 627; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)
No, those are just one unified product in perception of consumers with some variants allowed, but no stratification here whatsoever.
iPhone is allways iPhone. iPad is allwys iPad. Everyone is equal. Try thinking in terms of semiotics.
24. infernal88 (Posts: 113; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)
yea u are right ..ask any one with ipad 2 for example they wouldnt know which revision they have 2.1-2.4
it is just an ipad 2 for normal users
50. snowgator (Posts: 3188; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)
That is an interesting perspective and makes some sense. If Apple does release two sizes of iPad, guess we will see the first true sign of Apple responding to the market as opposed to trying to set the market.
I have always found screen ratio postings difficult to follow. (Math always has been harder for me to pick up than most people. I so respect smart people.) Yours was pretty straight foreward, A.C. Thank you.
3. Shino (Posts: 173; Member since: 23 Jul 2012)
Honestly, 3,5" is just fine for me. I plan to get an iPad for movies, but for something that's in my pocket this size is alright. I'd be disappointed if they change the display. Maybe only if they keep the outer shell size the same it is gonna be okay.
25. infernal88 (Posts: 113; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)
that ur opinion ,, and it is okay but just be sure to be based on experiance .. like u have tried all of them as for me i did ...and i found that 4.0-4.3 is just perfect the current devices are awesome and i love how they are nice to be used ..put when the moment come to put them in my pocket xD that all changes ! the point is that apple should have made this move earlier and i hope they do ..
4. downphoenix (Posts: 2267; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)
Maybe if you're a kid, a 4 inch would be difficult to use. I have a 4 inch phone and have NO PROBLEMS using it. I could see I would have problems if I went with something like a Galaxy Note, but anything 4.5 or smaller should be fine for nearly every adult.
And if you're a kid, the only reason you have a smartphone is because your parents bought it for you, so you dont really have a right to choose outside of the budget they allow for you. So deal.
10. TylerGrunter (Posts: 864; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)
From your comment: you are from a Western country and male.
It´s just a stupid guess, but probably true, why? I also have a 4 inches phone and I´m Ok with it, I even find it a little small and I would rather have a 4.2 inches one or a 4.5 if it has no physical buttons.
But many of my female friends would have issues to use a 4 inches phone with one hand. And probably many people in Asia too. You are not taking into account that people come in many different sizes in this world.
12. andro. (Posts: 1935; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)
Ironically your almost hitting the nail on the head there because stats show that the largest percentage of apples user and buying base are pretense and teens. You can expect smaller hands here
15. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 627; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)
Don't think so. They are giants nowadays :-D
51. snowgator (Posts: 3188; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)
Not sure I see why. Fact is, Android and WP seem to be getting bigger and bigger for their basic screens, while the iPhone has remained one of the most profitable products ever at the small screen size. Going to a 4.0" screen is a bit of a gamble for them.
6. amancarlos (Posts: 42; Member since: 09 May 2012)
I think this was the main reason why apple didn't increase the screen size yet.
eg: android has a back key at the bottom, while iOS has it at the top, which might be tougher for right handed users
11. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5531; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
"I think this was the main reason why apple didn't increase the screen size yet."
How about Apple milking every last dime from their supply of 3.5" screens? By the time the iPhone 4S was released, 4+ inch screens were the norm for other manufacturers.
54. amancarlos (Posts: 42; Member since: 09 May 2012)
i was referring to how iOS was designed. trust me, ios on a large screen phone (bordering phablet sizes) is a pain in the ass, while android shines in this category
8. mas11 (Posts: 1026; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)
Idk about you guys, but my thumb can easily reach the upper right hand corner of my 4" DROID 4. I guess if you have small hands it might suck, especially for the iPhone's target audience.
14. andro. (Posts: 1935; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)
Chaos is imminent. Ifans thumbs will be swinging about flailing about wishing out of control due to the new iphone screen being .5 of inch larger,it'll be like somebody having a thumb war with themselves!!
16. fanboy1974 (Posts: 1107; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)
Knowing Apple they would sue it's users for not having longer thumbs.
18. downphoenix (Posts: 2267; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)
The larger screen can mean a new opportunity in accessories. Thump Tip Extensions. Just call them iThumbs and billions sold!
20. rusticguy (Posts: 2819; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)
Not to worry too much as Apple will release some instructions on how to hold the 4 inch screen iphone correctly :)
22. papss (unregistered)
I truly hope the design isn't like the mockup..just looks silly considering that the design still hasnt changed..regardless of materials.. Just saying
27. Captain_Doug (Posts: 747; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
This is very conditional upon hand size and how you hold your phone. I can reach everywhere on a 4.3" screen phone with ease. Larger than that is inconvenient. There is no one size fit all phone.
28. Bozzor (Posts: 99; Member since: 02 May 2012)
Excellent analysis here: even though many people seem to revert back to Jobs passion against fragmentation of the iPhone, we have many different screen sizes and resolutions for Mac computers, and that doesn't seem to be an issue. My guess is that eventually, Apple will offer 3 sizes of screen. 3.5 inch classic/nano size, the upcoming iPhone 5 screen and then - when screen/battery technology can do it - a phablet in excess of 5 inch diagonal, but with quadruple the resolution of the iPhone 5.
30. Lwazi_N (Posts: 205; Member since: 23 Jun 2011)
Gone are the days where we subscribe to Jobs' thinking- who said he was always right? I know he never liked the idea of 4" phones... Or real multi-tasking, which I think will one day come to iOS. I hear Jobs reluctantly succumbed to the need of Apple to enter the medium-sized tablet space... Indeed one of those things he was wrong about. People are gonna enjoy the 4" iPhone!
31. redmd (Posts: 860; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)
People want a bigger screen. The thumb thingy is very subjective.
32. xtremesv (Posts: 188; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)
If you want a larger screen on the iPhone 5S or 6, well you'll be disappointed, wait for five years to get another half inch increment.
33. richardyarrell2011 (banned) (Posts: 510; Member since: 16 Mar 2011)
I guess crappy apple iphone users better get use to having a real man's device not something made for a 5 year old like the 3.5 inch screen on the current iphone 4/4s. Apple is the biggest JOKE in the tech game in my world you couldn't get me to own any iphone not even for free. it's poor navigation abilities, poor maps, watered internet as well as NO ability for funcationality. Apple can keep it's USELESS iphone models they don't innovate anyway. I roll real strong with my Samsung Galaxy S3..
34. Apple-Royally- (Posts: 16; Member since: 24 Aug 2012)
Jobs declared the current screen the "sweet spot" for mobIle phones.
We suspect their research is overwhelming support not the current size.
Why is apple retaining the small screen size, when Android users get the luxury
of indulging a big screen? What's the point? And why are people saying it's
going to boost sales? Don't iPhone users want a bigger screen? Is there something
we are missing?
Change what you can, and accept what you cannot!
37. IkemN (Posts: 3; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
If apple is worried about the Iphone 5 screen size they should make one in 4.0 inches and a Iphone5 in 3.5 inches for people with smaller hands. This would be one problem off there chest.
38. tmcr7 (Posts: 148; Member since: 02 Nov 2011)
Maintaining the 3.5" screen size for suitable one-hand use is just a lame excuse. If it was really built that way, then why does it have a qwerty keyboard for 2-thumb typing?
40. pikapowerize (banned) (Posts: 1869; Member since: 03 May 2012)
i really think 3.5"-4.2" will be the normal size... bigger than that its huge, smaller than that will be tiny!!!
i have big hands but no problem with 3.5 screen size while texting... yes.. its good to watch movies on a big screen so if you want big screen buy a tablet or better yet a loptop!!!
the S3 is comfortable in the hand (for me coz i got big hands) but what about those people with small hands?
if you want big screen for the reason of watching movie, better buy a tablet with expandable memory (not nexus 7 coz very limited) at least your phone acts like your mp3 player and a phone and some apps and games while your tablet will act as your movie player and web browsing!
43. ddeath (Posts: 154; Member since: 14 Apr 2012)
But do you always want to carry a tablet or laptop around to watch movies while commuting? I think they rather carry a bigger screen phone like the Galaxy Note. In fact, I'm plesantly surprised a lot of girls are seen carrying the Note in my country because of that, since they can keep it in their bags or purse. The media, games, internet etc. are so much better on a larger screen. And people with small hands can always use the phone with two hands.
42. ddeath (Posts: 154; Member since: 14 Apr 2012)
I think people 'enforcing' about the need to just use one hand one thumb on their iPhones are funny. You mean you cannot use the other hand when needed? I see most iPhone users using 2 hands on their phone anyway, holding it precariously in one in case it drops and shatters, while navigating with the fingers of the other hand.
47. robocopvn (Posts: 175; Member since: 10 Mar 2010)
On the bigger screen, if you know how to use it and get used to, you just need to put the phone slightly in the far side of you fingers, and you thumb can reach much much further, trust me :))
48. Fuego84 (Posts: 259; Member since: 13 May 2012)
It sounds like this article is calling iPhone users lazy and unable to adapt. I mean complaining about something as small as half an inch is not that important. I've had a 3.5inch phone 4inch and right now a 4.3inch smartphone that is a little big for my hands but I wouldn't go back to a smaller screen. ANDROID ALL THE WAY... good bye.
49. xtian1103 (Posts: 352; Member since: 11 Feb 2012)
"dominance of large screen smart phones" -if you want apple to believe this you better convince the 38 million people not to buy the small screened, outdated os, and same designed iphone.
53. Malique001 (Posts: 58; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)
Im 15 and my thumb can touch the top of the screen on my Galaxy Nexus so this new iPhone shouldnt be a problem for most.
55. bigstrudel (Posts: 518; Member since: 20 Aug 2012)
Makes me think of the Burger King commercial "I have these tiny hands..."