By John Gruber
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Big scoop by 9to5 Mac:
Both of these phones sport a new, larger display that is 3.95 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 × 1136. That’s an extra 176 pixels longer of a display. The screen will be the same 1.94 inches wide, but will grow to 3.45 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.
We’ve also heard that Apple will be taking full advantage of their new pixels. Apple is currently testing builds of iOS 6 that are custom-built to the new iPhone’s display. These builds include a tweaked home screen with a fifth row of icons (besides the stationary app dock) and extended application user interfaces that offer views of more content. Apple is able to pull this off with the same sharpness as the current iPhone Retina Display because of the additional pixels.
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.
First, at 1136 × 640, you get a diagonal of 1,303.877 pixels after applying the Pythagorean theorem. There are no such thing as fractional pixels, but what I’m talking about here are pixels as a unit of length, equal to 1/326 inch. Divide 1,303.877 by 326 and you get 3.9996 inches. Boom, a “4-inch” display. I’m sure if Apple instead went to 1152 pixels in height — which works out to 4.042 inches — they’d still just call it a “4-inch” display, for the sake of neatness, but it’s at least somewhat interesting that 1136 is the closest they could get to precisely 4.0 inches.
Second, aspect ratio. With a 640-pixel width — which everything I have heard and seen reported suggests is set in stone — there is no way get to precisely 16:9:
(16/9) × 640 = 1,137.777…
You can’t cut seven-ninths of a pixel. 1138 × 640 would be a tad closer to 16:9, but 1136 × 640 is within five-thousandths of an inch of exactly 16:9. So I think Apple would be safe to bill an 1136 × 640 display as sporting a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Update: 1136 × 639 would be exactly 16:9. One pixel away.
★ Tuesday, 22 May 2012