Anybody who follows Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is probably familiar with John Gruber and his Apple-focused website, Daring Fireball. Ahead of the iPhone X launch, Gruber called into question a key iPhone X specification from KGI Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo -- one of the best-connected Apple analysts around.
In particular, Kuo said the display resolution of the iPhone X would be 2,800 by 1,242 pixels, with a portion of the display reserved as a so-called function area. Kuo predicted that the remaining 5.15-inch display area, excluding the function area, would measure 2,436 pixels tall and 1,125 wide.
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Gruber argued against this view and put forth his belief that the iPhone X's display would measure 5.8 inches along the diagonal and sport a resolution of 2,436 by 1,125 pixels.
He was proved totally correct.
In that same post, he observed that the 2,800-by-1,242 resolution would make perfect sense for a hypothetical 6.6-inch iPhone.
Combine Gruber's analysis with the supply-chain rumors that Apple is prepping a 6.46-inch OLED iPhone next year in addition to a direct successor to the 5.85-inch iPhone X, and I think we now know the display resolution and pixel density of the upcoming 6.46-inch iPhone.
Slightly sharper than this year's iPhone X
An iPhone with a 6.46-inch display with a resolution of 2,800 by 1,242 pixels would have a pixel density of about 474 pixels per inch. That would mean the screen on next year's 6.46-inch iPhone would be about 3.5% sharper than this year's iPhone X -- and, almost certainly, next year's 5.85-inch iPhone X successor.
In other words, there'd be no real noticeable difference in the sharpness of the displays of the two devices. The 6.46-inch iPhone X successor would just be a larger -- not necessarily better -- version of its 5.85-inch counterpart.
This would be in sharp contrast to what we saw with all of the liquid crystal display (LCD)-powered iPhones, beginning with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and running through the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. iPhone 6, 6s, 7, and 8 each had 4.7-inch LCDs measuring 1,334 by 750 pixels, and iPhone 6 Plus, 6s Plus, 7 Plus, and 8 Plus had 5.5-inch LCDs with 1,920 by 1,080-pixel displays.
The pixel densities of the 4.7-inch iPhone displays are 326 pixels per inch; for the 5.5-inch iPhone displays, that figure was 401 pixels per inch -- a 23% increase in sharpness.
Indeed, a sharper display is one of the reasons I, and probably many others, preferred the larger-screen iPhones to their smaller-screen counterparts.
The bad news for Apple -- though I'm loathe to refer to it that way -- is that an improvement in display sharpness won't be a major selling point for next year's 6.46-inch iPhone X, potentially holding back iPhone average selling prices.
The good news -- for customers, at least -- is that customers should be able to pick between the two devices primarily based on their preferred display size rather than be pushed to buy a larger device that they might not be totally comfortable with just to get a sharper screen.
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