A new report from 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman claims Apple is testing a 1704×960 resolution display for its upcoming iPhone. The new display res for the iPhone 6 would allow the device to keep the same screen resolution as the iPhone 5s (16:9) and denser screens in terms of pixels per inch than the current Retina standard, regardless of whether Apple goes with 4.7-inch or 5.5-inch displays on its next device (both have been reported, though the 4.7-inch model is more likely for the iPhone 6 we see in fall).
The screen size increases are not likely to change the size and positioning of basic interface elements for menus and core applications, the report says, but will instead make everything larger and sharper. Some applications may be able to take advantage of the new added screen real estate independently however, like adding in additional interface elements or displaying more content in Maps and Safari, for example.
Changing the resolution on devices means another incoming transition for developers, but 9to5Mac points out that this one should be very similar to the transition from 1x to 2x mode when the original Retina Display was introduced. Apple has been working on resolution independence according to previous reports, so this could help with the optimization process and make for a smoother transition. It’s also worth noting that improved iPhone displays opens the doors to better iPad screens in the future, too, since Apple has a history of updating its tablet resolutions after its smartphone devices.
When Apple introduced the iPhone 5, it simply added more vertical space to the screen. A whole new resolution could open up more possibilities in terms of interface development and design, even if Apple puts the emphasis on making it easy for developers to update existing software with minimal labor. Gurman notes that Apple tests multiple resolutions before committing to one for shipping, so nothing’s obviously set in stone, but this is one more indicator that Apple will indeed be bumping up screen size with its next iPhone device, which is good news for those who have been looking forward to Apple matching its Android competition in this regard.