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The New iPhone: Size, Screen + New Connector (Plus iPod touch)

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Thursday, May 3, 2012
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Whether you call it the “iPhone 5,” the “iPhone 6,” or the “iPhone 4G”—well, maybe not the last one thanks to international regulators—the new iPhone is coming this fall, and we have some details to share. They match and expand upon details we received back in March, suggesting that Apple is abandoning the long-rumored “teardrop-shaped iPhone 5” in favor of another glass-bodied design.

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What we’ve learned: the new iPhone will indeed be longer and thinner than the iPhone 4 and 4S. Approximate measurements are 125mm by 58.5mm by 7.4mm—a 10mm jump in height, nearly 2mm reduction in thickness, and virtually identical width. According to our source, Apple will make one major change to the rear casing, adding a metal panel to the central back of the new iPhone. This panel will be flat, not curved, and metal, not ceramic. Our artist’s rendition provides a rough idea of what this change will look like; it echoes the current-generation iMac design, to be sure.

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Note that the new iPhone is expected to be made partially from Gorilla Glass 2, which can be manufactured thinner with identical strength to the earlier iPhones’ Gorilla Glass, or at the same thickness with greater strength. The change in height will include a lengthening of the prior 3.5” screen to roughly 4” on the diagonal. As the new iPhone won’t widen, this appears to confirm that Apple will change the new iPhone’s aspect ratio for the first time since the original iPhone was introduced in 2007, adding additional pixels to the top and bottom of the screen. A change of this sort took place between the fourth and fifth generations of the iPod nano, but didn’t impact any third-party software. This obviously will.

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Apple will also introduce its new Dock Connector on the new iPhone. The new port will be a little larger than the bottom speaker or microphone hole on the iPhone 4/4S. It’s believed to have fewer pins than the prior 30-pin Dock Connector, perhaps only 16, and the shape of the hole is apparently closer to a pill shape than the prior rounded rectangle. It will be used on all upcoming devices, including an update to the iPod touch that’s expected this year, and will almost certainly feature a similarly updated screen and CPU. Will Apple call it the “new iPod touch,” just like the “new iPad,” and most likely, the “new iPhone?” Or is it finally time to just call it the “new iPod?”

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Comments

1

Yeah right.  No way Apple changes its aspect ratio.  I call foul.

Posted by Adam on May 3, 2012 at 7:13 AM (PDT)

2

Agreed, Apple will never change the aspect ratio, because all Apps have do be redesigned then.
And i am still not sure, if Apple will go to 4”, because 3,5” is the perfect size for one-handed use

Ah yeah, and the new iPhone looks preety ugly to me.

Posted by Alex on May 3, 2012 at 7:40 AM (PDT)

3

Makes sense. Current apps will have black bars on the top on bottom portions of the screen making for a somewhat less jarring venture to the new screen size. Apps will have to be written for 2 different sizes however which developers will no doubt groan about.

Posted by Ryan on May 3, 2012 at 8:09 AM (PDT)

4

There is only one explanation that fits the case, the longer display by 10mm roughly adds one row and here is what Apple may do with that and iOS6

They will add a persistent dock icons row that will be always shown and regular apps will not expand to fill the screen but rather running normally and the dock will be visible in the bottom (think OSX dock).

Now developers can either keep their apps as they are or update to make them full-screen exactly the same concept found on desktop OSX

This guarantees the longer display without breaking current apps

Posted by Gradly on May 3, 2012 at 8:48 AM (PDT)

5

Apple WILL change something (aspect ratio or something) that fragments the iPhone platform. Eventually. They have before: performance for instance. Otherwise nothing ever changes.

The question is whether a given fragmentation is worth it. I think this one is, and I hope it’s true. iOS developers will then have 3 screen formats to deal with, and the likelihood that all 3 will last for years—still much better than the Android chaos.

And remember that iOS already has the ability to automatically adjust the height of running apps—and many apps take advantage of that already. You see it when on a call, and the green bar “fragments” the screen into a shorter shape. For many apps, the top/bottom UI remain unchanged while the center list or view scales. I bet many current apps will need little or no work to do the same thing for a taller view. Others—like old-shape games—will simply run with black bars, and look no worse than they do now.

And I’ll get another row of icons in each folder smile

(P.S. iLounge comments aren’t functional in Safari?)

Posted by Nagromme on May 3, 2012 at 9:00 AM (PDT)

6

CocoaTouch already supports automatic resizing of the user interface, as already mentioned by Nagromme. It’s interesting to note that Mac OS X Lion introduced a more advanced system for resizing user interfaces, called “Auto Layout”. Maybe this will be coming in iOS 6.

However, games are generally not written using CocoaTouch, so they wouldn’t benefit from this. However, it wouldn’t be hard for Apple to add a new bit of metadata for developers to include with their apps that specifies if the new larger screen resolution is supported. Older unmodified apps will then be run letterboxed, which would be fine.

Posted by Paul on May 3, 2012 at 9:24 AM (PDT)

7

By only heightening the display and leaving the width alone, apps run fine without needing to be resized. All they need to do is put a .25-inch black bar above and below the running “old-style” apps, and they function exactly as they do on any other iPhone, just with a small border above and below, while maintaining the same resolution. Way easier than if they kept the SAME aspect ratio and increased the screen size.

Posted by Andru Edwards on May 3, 2012 at 10:29 AM (PDT)

8

They’d have rocks in their head to change the Dock Connector, that would make all my equipment redundant (clock radio, docking station etc) and would mean I didn’t have to stick with Apple. I may as well buy a Samsung which is a better phone if all my equipment becomes redundant - surely Apple is not this dumb!!!

Posted by Andrew on May 3, 2012 at 5:11 PM (PDT)

9

More disappointed about the change in dock. How many electronics now come with an iPod dock and now they’re gonna go and change it? All these stylish stereo systems, blu ray players, radios etc, with iPod docks will now all have to sell new accessories so you can still plug your iPhone/iPod in. Hopefully it can be an easy fix like a 16 pin to 30 pin converter but I doubt it.

Posted by Aaron on May 3, 2012 at 5:14 PM (PDT)

10

@Andrew#8:  Surely you have forgotten about all the apps and music you purchased?  If you have none of that then switching is cheap.

Apple could switch the dock connector to be micro-USB like every other device on the planet, and as mandated by law in some countries.  There is a standard (MHL) that allows it to be used for audio and video in addition to USB, but taking such a route would prevent Apple from charging licensing fees for the connector.

Posted by Roger on May 3, 2012 at 5:54 PM (PDT)

11

It will be silly of them to change the dock connector. It’s not going to be as “universal” as they think it would be. The predicted new dock connector will then make most of us toss away our iPhone 4 docks or the Apple universal docks, and all the rest of the docks.

Posted by Aileen on May 3, 2012 at 6:35 PM (PDT)

12

I’d be very dissapointed if the dock connector was changed. It would generate huge amounts of e-waste! I agree with Andrew#8, Aaron#9 and Roger#10. I’d sure love to see a universal dock connector rather than all the proprietary shapes, it’s such a waste!

Posted by Tathra on May 3, 2012 at 6:57 PM (PDT)

13

——
Fake
——

Posted by Alfonso Leiva Mora on May 3, 2012 at 8:50 PM (PDT)

14

They can increase width also keeping the same resolution. That will reduce pixel density from 325ppi to 300.

Posted by Mentis on May 3, 2012 at 10:54 PM (PDT)

15

good point

Posted by kyle on May 4, 2012 at 12:10 AM (PDT)

16

I think that Apple might be just using this redesigned iPhone 4/4S shape to test the internals of the next iPhone, which will not actually look anything like that.

He are some good reason
- use existing components and processes as much as possible to lower cost

- leave as much time as possible to design and ensure sufficient supply for a new gen casing

- prevent last years case leaks of the actual product

Posted by Nikolay Andreev on May 4, 2012 at 3:58 AM (PDT)

17

I really hope the dock connector stays the same! My main reason for staying with apple devices is that all of my iPods, my iPhone, and my iPad can all use the same accessories.  I’m not ready to have to update everything in order to have 1 new device.

Posted by Mikey on May 5, 2012 at 3:55 PM (PDT)

18

If this update is true I think it may favor a June release. My reasoning is that if they change the screen size then they would need ios changes and developer stuff so such a huge software announcement would make sense at WWDC. Just my opinion. Anyone else agree/disagree?

Posted by davy050995 on May 6, 2012 at 11:17 AM (PDT)

19

Has anyone had a thought about having a thunderbolt connection instead of current dock or usb???
I think that would be the best thing!

Posted by Mil on May 6, 2012 at 12:58 PM (PDT)

20

Maybe Apple will keep the same overall size as iPhone4S by finally dumping the mechanical button in favor of an on-sceen button.  Could explain the larger screen.

Posted by Jim on May 7, 2012 at 7:36 AM (PDT)

21

Just on the news not too long ago they were having issues with Siri on the iPhone 4S. Why is Apple in such a rush to release a new version of the iPhone if it can’t even get it’s features right with their current model?

Posted by Kayla on May 7, 2012 at 11:27 AM (PDT)

22

If you love your Iphone and all your Apple products you will go out and buy new clock radios, docking stations etc.. to accomodate the new dock connector. The many companies that manufacture these are counting on it! As far as apps go, just like any other software there will be updates for the new screen size. Overall, its gonna cost everyone money if they make these changes and we will probably spend it!

Posted by Tony on May 7, 2012 at 2:53 PM (PDT)

23

I hope the new dock connecter has the “unbreakable” magnetic connection like macbooks do. They should’ve done that in the first place.

Posted by emceeSWELL on May 7, 2012 at 4:57 PM (PDT)

24

what about camera?or sound effects?is it 1080p@30bps?

Posted by faroogh on May 8, 2012 at 2:29 AM (PDT)

25

Do you think on Verizon the 5 will feature the 4G LTE?

Posted by howelm11 on May 9, 2012 at 7:54 AM (PDT)

26

Changes in the dock connector would be horrible. As people have stated, it would make all our old dock connectors useless for all our purchases.. the iPhone, iPod, iPad, etc. Hugely disappointing.

But to everyone saying Apple isn’t that stupid, remember that Apple isn’t one giant person. Steve Jobs wouldn’t have been so stupid, but Steve Jobs is dead. Remember the last time he left the company? The company started failing. There’s definitely a chance that Tim Cook could be stupid and try to do something like change the dock connector.

Posted by Jeff on May 10, 2012 at 9:03 AM (PDT)

27

It just MIGHT make sense if its a universal connector that other brands/devices also use.. but being apple, i will bank on it being a proprietary connector..
Why change the connector?? What value will this be to consumers?

Posted by Antone on May 10, 2012 at 6:03 PM (PDT)

28

I WANT A SMALL iPhone PLEEEEASE. It is ridiculous the size of phones these days. What happened to compact technology. iPhone nano please !

Posted by Adan on May 11, 2012 at 2:51 PM (PDT)

29

Give me a 4+ inch screen and I’ll come back home to iOS. The current 3.5 incher is too small for my old self,...

Posted by tds101 on May 14, 2012 at 11:28 AM (PDT)

30

Agreed…4+ inch and 4G and I am BACK iOS smile

Posted by Adam on May 16, 2012 at 2:05 PM (PDT)

31

To all of those about to lose their lunch over the thought of implementing a new Dock Connector to the iPhone 5…

We can all probably agree that Apple has put forth a tremendous effort to make the use and maintenance of their devices as efficient & effortless as possible. Therefore, they have not given us any reason to believe that they will do anything less in the future.

I am pretty sure we have seen similar instances happen in the past with other common products and have hardly suffered due to a wonderful tool called an ADAPTOR. I would not be surprised if one came with every iPhone or was offered for an exrta $10 upon purchase.

Considering how often the majority of iPhone/Pad/Pod users update to the next best thing, the excruciating turmoil (as you make it out) of using one of your free USB ports for the new cord will be about a year. Be honest with yourself, how often is it ever plugged in anyway?
If you are only charging it, then using the new wall charger should be no different than any other device’s charger and your iPods/Pads can still be connected to your computers with their old cords.
If it is plugged into your computer, then you are probably not using your iTouch for apps & music b/c you can just use the phone.
God forbid you are one of the unfortunate souls who are trying to plug in both an iPad/Pod & iPhone into your computer at the same time and have to use BOTH of your USB ports (which you would be doing any way).

The people running that company are a lot smarter than you or I and probably have a good plan. If you are as big of Mac fans as you make yourselves out to be, you should have learned by now to trust in Apple innovation & ingenuity.

Posted by B on May 18, 2012 at 6:17 AM (PDT)

32

4 inch screen is coming along with a higher resolution and 4G LTE.  They are not keeping the same pixel density as the 3.5 inch.  Remember that there was supposed to be chaos with the retina display in 2010 and developers had it supported within days.

What I like about this is that I love the 4s size, the 3g service is tolerable and battery life is great.  I will have it for a while, and not be as interested to jump to the 5 just yet.  Maybe in a year…  I had a 4g LTE android and the only thing it was good for was streaming videos faster…along with draining the battery just as fast.

Posted by KS on May 20, 2012 at 5:04 PM (PDT)

33

B - it is not about using a separate cable to plug into my computer it is about the fact that I have invested a lot of money on speaker docks with the 30 pin connector and have no intention of adding an adapter them (my phone sits perfect in them and an adapter makes it look stupid and make it unstable - if you add an istubz adapter to a dock your phone looks terrible on it) ... imho new dock = fail = short apple stock because it will dump.

Posted by Vik Mehta on May 22, 2012 at 6:11 PM (PDT)

34

I’ll be disappointed if they just change the dock port around without making it better. I’d like to see something that is sealed, maybe optical with contact transference for charging, with the connector magnetically sticking in place like the power cords on their laptops. Also I’d like to see it Thunderbolt compatible.

Changing aspect ratio might be a bit annoying but developers are already used to the iPad having a different aspect ratio and Apple is never shy about just changing things. And they can depreciate the current aspect ratio so going forward developers can expect to only have to deal with a certain number of aspect ratios again.

Posted by MikeFM on May 22, 2012 at 7:33 PM (PDT)

35

Well…was planning on adding a couple of these to my collection of Apple gadgets but the new connector might squash the expansion. Don’t want to have different charging cords.

Posted by Bob T. on May 26, 2012 at 10:20 AM (PDT)

36

I think is more likely than a lot of the other rumors. I never believed it would be some crazy teardrop completely different looking phone. It’ll be super similar, just perhaps bigger and wider. We’ll see! Coming soon. Psyched.

Posted by Ryan on May 27, 2012 at 2:35 PM (PDT)

37

@B #31- I totally agree. If you’re truly an apple enthusiast, you’ll trust that the big boys in charge know what direction they’re taking the company, and won’t make stupid design changes for no reason. Personally, unless there’s a good reason for changing the dock size (i.e. better speed, or they need more room inside to fit a bigger battery etc..), I don’t like the idea of changing sizes. As far as the screen size goes, I’m ready for a change to the iPhone, though, I’m not yet sure what I think about the 16:9 ratio idea. If they go with it, I’ll buy it. If they don’t go with it, I’ll buy it. I just kinda love Apple and what they’ve always done. My only worry is that with the change in leadership, they might lose sight of the traditional Apple theme: clean, smooth, simple.

Posted by Tyler on May 30, 2012 at 8:18 PM (PDT)

38

The first thing one has to remember is that, eventually, the US will be adopting the same methodology as Europe, in that every connector will have to be standard. I am pretty sure this is where Apple is heading (if they are) with this new adapter schema.

Like everyone else on this forum, I have owned every Apple product made that uses the 30-pin connector-many multiple versions or pieces. I probably have an extra 8 or so 30-pin connectors lying around in case I need to have one for on the go. I am pretty sure Apple is going to have something so that you will be able to use legacy technology (speakers etc.) with the new (again if they are) dock port.

The interesting thing, to me, is that with this new design, Apple is/may be able to change the transfer rates. Now, no spec is published for any of this. Thunderbolt? I’d LOVE to see it, but it is a HUGE port. Unless they are building a different spec for that, I don’t see that happening. New USB 3 connectivity? Now, that is a possibility - even with a proprietary port. I would love to think that the change in design on this port means we are going to be getting much faster transfer speeds. One of the saddest days of my life was the day they got rid of FireWire on the iPods. :-( And, 3 days before that announcement, I had just purchased a brand new FireWire 800 - 30 pin adapter for my Nano… ugh… would really like to think this change means faster transfer rates.

That’s just my 2 Cents!

Posted by bonaccij on June 1, 2012 at 5:58 AM (PDT)

39

@Tyler ·37: Just commenting on what you said: “My only worry is that with the change in leadership, they might lose sight of the traditional Apple theme: clean, smooth, simple.”
Honestly I haven’t seen anything stupid done by new leadership (i.e. Tim Cook) so hopefully we will stay on the right track, but sure he still has time to do something stupid grin
In any case, when you think of design you have to think to Johnny Ive for the hardware design and a few other for the SW, and those people are still there and still have their weight/power on future design and decisions.
Unfortunately Steve Jobs is no longer there, but there are a lot of people who worked with him who are still there, so hopefully they won’t let the apple style and design disappear….

Posted by Simone on June 1, 2012 at 10:23 AM (PDT)

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