The accepted definition for a “phablet” is a smartphone with a screen size between 5 inches and 6.9 inches. According to BGR, an Apple analyst has recently changed his tune on the company, changing it to a “buy” based in part on his belief that Apple will increase the screen size of the iPhone 6 to 4.8 inches — not quite a phablet, but close.
Should Apple indeed jump to a larger display, such as 4.8 inches, it would raise an interesting question about that display’s resolution. The iPhone has kept the same pixels-per-inch (PPI) density since the launch of the iPhone 4 in 2010. If Apple offered an iPhone with a larger display but kept the same 1136 x 640 resolution, it would cause the PPI count to drop down from 326 to 272. That’s still better than the iPad 4′s pixel density, but the iPad is also a 9.7-inch device that is meant to be held further away than a smartphone.
A drop in PPI doesn’t seem like a very Apple thing to do — the famed “Retina” display is one of the company’s key selling points, after all — but it may keep things more simple for developers.
Should Apple introduce a 4.8-inch iPhone with a different resolution, it would force developers to support three different resolutions: 960 x 640, 1136 x 640 and whatever the newest resolution is.
Next year could also be the year that Apple phases out support for the 3.5-inch iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S models, so adding a new display resolution may not be such a big deal.
With the iPhone 5, the iPad mini and a potential 4.8-inch iPhone 6 in 2014, there’s been a noticeable shift in the way Apple has approached its products. Where the company previously stuck to its guns on design decisions — remember Steve Jobs saying a 3.5 inches was the “sweet spot” for smartphones? — the company seems more willing to give the market what it wants. The demand is there for larger phones, but there isn’t an iPhone willing to meet it, yet.
Perhaps that will change next year.