iPhone 6 rumours: 4in-plus ‘super Retina’ screen, gaze detection, iOS 7
This week’s Apple iPhone 6 rumours: a bigger-than 4in display, super Retina screen resolution, changes in iOS 7, and gaze detection. It’s an exciting time to be an iPhone 6 rumourmonger!
The iOSphere analysed, dissected, interpreted and obsessed over Apple CEO Tim Cook’s comments at the All Things D conference last week, and didn’t change its hive mind about any of the iPhone 6 rumours.
The general idea is “If he didn’t say something about something, then the something could still be something. Eventually.”
[BACKGROUND: Even saying nothing, Apple CEO reveals something]
Thus the long-standing rumour, or hope, that future iPhones will have still-larger displays remains alive and well because Cook didn’t say that Apple would never, ever build one.
Also this week, the iOSphere turns a favourable eye on Gaze Detection Technology, while turning a deaf ear to the American Civil Liberties Union; credible details, if still from anonymous sources, emerge about the Next iPhone’s firmware – iOS 7; and the siren song of the Super Retina display.
You read it here second.
iPhone 6 will run iOS 7, which will look really, really different
Exactly how it will be and look different remains unclear, despite a fair amount of detail in Mark Gurman’s post at 9to5Mac, which is based on his talks with anonymous, multiple “sources.”
It’s now widely expected that Apple will disclose iOS 7, along with the next release of OS X, at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, largely because Apple said it would, in its announcement of the event. In a quote attributed to Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Philip Schiller: “We can’t wait to get new versions of iOS and OS X into their hands at WWDC.”
There are two “halves” to the OS: the underlying kernel and the user interface that rides above it. Much of Gurman’s post is about the UI — what iPhone and iPad users will see and touch. This is the work being overseen since last fall by Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive.
“Sources have described iOS 7 as ‘black, white, and flat all over,'” Gurman writes. “This refers to the dropping of heavy textures and the addition of several new black and white user interface elements.
“Sources say that over the past few months, Apple has re-architected iOS 7’s new interface several times, so until the new software is announced at WWDC, interface elements could dramatically change from what Apple has been testing internally in recent weeks,” Gurman writes.
Among the changes mentioned by Gurman:
- dropping the shiny, transparent time bar on the top of the Lock screen, replacing it with a “shine-free, black interface”; the square-grid for entering a PIN code gives way to “round, black buttons with white text and white borders.”
- replacing textures, such as “linen” and “leather,” with “flat white and black coloring.” The Notification Center’s dark linen background becomes a dark grey or black with white text.
- removing gradient textures from a variety of navigation and tab bars.
- redesigning most of Apple’s own apps to reflect this visual flattening, and minimalist use of white and black; the Notes app drops the “yellow notepad” metaphor, in favor of a white background; and along with Mail, Calendar and Maps, there’s a more uniform use of white; and “each app has been given a unique button colour” or theme.
Besides the UI elements, there also are a range of kernel and API changes in the works also. “We previously reported that iOS 7 will likely include integration for Flickr and Vimeo in addition to improved in-car support for Maps and Siri,” Gurman writes. “While the new interface will be a major change for consumers, sources say that iOS 7 is also an ambitious update for developer-focused features.”
Words are an inherently unsatisfactory way to describe something so visual and in a sense tactile as iOS. Despite Gurman’s details, it’s hard to visualize at this point what the UI will actually look like, or how it will “feel,” as a unified experience. But in about two weeks, we’ll all know.
[Related: iOS 7 release date, rumours and leaked images | iOS 7 to be ‘very, very flat,’ with redesigned Apple app icons | Apple expected to preview iOS 7 with ‘killer app’ at WWDC | Apple iOS 7 ‘will feature Street View option for Maps’]
iPhone 6 or 5S, whatever, will have a “Super Retina” display, and 1.5 million pixels
A Chinese language website started this rumour with a post that the Next iPhone will double the Retina display resolution of the iPhone 5, as summed up by Sam Oliver’s post at AppleInsider. That would mean packing 1.5 million pixels into the same 4-inch display, according to Oliver.
The iPhone 5 has a Retina display, with a resolution of 1360 by 640 pixels and a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch, for a total count of about 730,000 pixels, according to Oliver.
He points out that HTC’s recently announced HTC One smartphone has a 4.7-inch screen that supports a full 1080p HD resolution: screen density is 486 pixels per inch, and total pixel count is over 2 million.
Oliver doesn’t asses this news, but iMore editor Rene Ritchie does.
Ritchie links back to his January post, “Imagining a 5-inch iPhone,” which looked at Apple’s options for increasing the screen size to 5 inches. Then, he concluded that doubling the current iPhone 5 resolution — to 2272 x 1280 pixels at 522 ppi — on a 5-inch screen would “require even more graphics processing power, more LED light, and more battery, and it would be absolutely bats**t insane. … Going to 5-inches @4x probably isn’t something within the current realms of technology, economics, or reason, however.”
Trying to do that on a 4-inch display, as the rumor has it, “to put it just as bluntly, is even more bats**t insane,” Ritchie writes in his current post. “Until humans grow hawk eyes, there’s just no need. If and when Apple goes to 5-inches, maybe @3x [three times the original iPhone resolution] will make sense, or maybe a more painful switch to the 1080p standard. Maybe there’s even something in the Apple labs that does 2x Retina in a very different way than what’s being reported right now…”
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John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.
Email: [email protected]
Read more about wireless & mobile in Network World’s Wireless & Mobile section.