A few images found their way to Weibo today (via cnBeta). They supposedly show a working iPhone 6 and while I could go on and on about the hardware and what’s not particularly to my liking, I will refrain from doing so until Apple unveil the final product. There is some good news however and it appears that John Gruber may have been correct regarding the new device’s resolution …
To summarise Gruber’s thoughts and calculations: the new 4.7″ iPhone will have a resolution of 1334×750 px (667×375 pt) at 326 ppi, while the 5.5″ version will go to @3x, 461 ppi and a resolution of 2206×1242 px (736×414 pt). This makes sense because points are what matter — they define how big things are on screen.
As you can see from the above photo, the supposed 4.7″ iPhone 6’s home screen will gain extra space around the icons, while they themselves will remain exactly the same size as on a 4″ iPhone 5 or 5S. The additional space allows for another row of applications. The big question is how Apple will treat apps which are not optimised for the new display — I suspect they’ll take one of two routes, where one is more likely than the other.
The reasonable approach would be to simply scale existing apps to fill the new, larger screen. They will not look as good, but the difference shouldn’t be as bad as with the jump from the 3GS to the first Retina iPhone. The tradeoff in this regard is that everything will be larger, scaled up. A year ago I would have said that there is no way Apple would do this — today, I’m not so sure anymore. Apps updated to the new resolution would of course have more screen at their disposal and everything would be scaled back to the proper size. An alternative would be only scaling apps that do not properly support Auto Layout or it’s former implementation.
The second approach is derived from the jump from 3.5″ screens to the 4″ ones in the 5 and 5S. An older app, not designed for the new resolutions, could be simply letterboxed. If Apple chooses to go down this road it should be aligned to the bottom of the screen however, not centred as before, for one simple reason: the keyboard should be in the same place on screen. This would create black bars on the left, right and top of the app. However, I’m willing to bet that this is something Apple will not do, due to the fact that the aspect ratio of the screen will remain at 16:9 (it changed from 3:2 to 16:9 when going from 3.5″ to 4″).
Three days to go and we’ll find out for sure.