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iPhone 2012 ;)
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Cascadia
 
2011-10-07, 21:22

It's early yet, but I wanted a place to discuss what the iPhone 4S means for future iPhones, and also a place to respond to some of Gruber's "Thoughts and Observations," without taking the iPhone 4S thread off-topic.

There's different ways to view Apple's "re-use" of the iPhone 4 design. One is that Apple is settling into a cycle of using each iPhone design for two generations. This is Gruber's conclusion:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gruber
Apple is a company of patterns and cycles. These product cycles keep the machine functioning at a steady pace. They broke one pattern with the iPhone 4S: all previous iPhones were released in June. But they’ve added a new one: a two-year cycle that starts with a new form factor (3G/4) followed a year later by a new phone with the same form factor but significantly improved internals (3GS/4S). If next year’s phone is named “iPhone 5”, then I’ll expect a lookalike iPhone 5S in 2013.
This is certainly possible — the second and third generation iPod touches followed this pattern too, though it's possible that was by accident. But I think it's a little too soon to say for sure if the iPhone will follow this cycle, and of course by the time it is Apple will probably change things up. (Remember Apple's sure-fire September iPod events?)

There's another Apple product pattern. It's been around longer, and it's longer-term. That pattern is this: Apple (and by "Apple" I mean "after-Jobs-came-back Apple") enters a new market, or makes an-after-Jobs-came-back model of an existing product for the first time, and we start counting there. The first few product generations tend to be more experimental, and very different from each other, but eventually Apple finds what works and they stick with it, and the design changes become much more subtle refinements.

The iBook and PowerBook G3 hit this point comparatively early — they both had curvy initial models, but with the PowerBook G4 and iBook they found what worked, and they spend the next decade refining their squared-off metal and plastic notebooks. Nowhere was the "early experimentation" phase more evident than with the iMac. The iMac G3 and G4 and G5 were wildly different from each other, but by the time we got to the G5 that phase has ended and the "where did the computer go" iMac stuck around for the next seven years and counting, getting nips and tucks more than ground-up rethinkings.

The iPod (classic) took four generations. Apple went from a mechanical scroll wheel to a touch-sensitive scroll wheel to a model with the buttons all in a row under the screen, but by the time they got to the click wheel they had it. They added a color screen and video playback and a metal front, but the iPod classic is still largely the same concept seven years later (again, and counting). It's, well, classic.

I think, with the fifth model, the iPhone has (coincidentally, or not?) ended its G3-G4-G5 phase. The potential shapes of the iPhone are more limited than that of the iMac, so the experimentation phase wasn't as crazy as the iMac's, but I'd still consider the weirdly plastic 3G/3GS the oddball iMac G4 of the range. I think the iPhone 4's antennae design was a watershed moment, analogous to the PowerBook G4 Titanium, and I think Apple will stick with it, and refining it. They'll make it a tad thinner, or narrower. But I think the multi-piece, squared-off, antennas-on-the-outside design is here to stay for the foreseeable future. They're not going to suddenly switch to a two-piece, curved-at-the-edges, iPod/iPad-style design — except maybe as a new low-end, prepaid-targeting model that would take over for the (two-piece, curved-at-the-edges) iPhone 3GS.

But that raises the question: if Apple's not planning on giving the iPhone design anything more than minor tweaks, why "demote" the minor-tweaked iPhone 4S by calling it the 4S? "For Steve" is cute, but that doesn't seem likely. The answer is I don't know. It's not terribly important, but if Apple is getting to the point where they're not going to majorly rethink the iPhone's form factor, they shouldn't train people to expect that from each "true" iPhone n+1.

Maybe the iPhone 5 will keep the iPhone 4's squared-off design, but drastically change the face of the product in other ways. (Segue!)

The rest of this post is responding to Gruber's points about screen size, so if that bores you, move along.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gruber
What sign has Apple ever given that it will ever change from the one-size-fits-all 3.5-inch screen? Every single iPhone and iPod Touch ever released has had the exact same size screen.
He's certainly right, Apple's never given any sign that it will change from their one-size-fits-all approach. But Apple never gives any advance sign for most of the things they do. They didn't give people a "sign" they were about to introduce the iPod or the iPod mini or the iPod shuffle or the iPod nano or the iPod touch or the iPhone or the iPad or the Mac mini or the iMac or the MacBook Air or...

The argument that they will or should can basically be summed up as "one size doesn't fit all."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gruber
There is no doubt that some people would prefer a bigger screen. But nor is there any doubt that many other people would not. I wouldn’t.
This is why Apple would make different models for different people, just as they do with the Mac and iPod. It's true!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gruber
If they thought 4-inches was better, overall, as the one true size for the iPhone display, then the original iPhone would have had a 4-inch display.
Again, the argument isn't that the one true size for the iPhone display should be four inches, it's that there doesn't have to be a one true size for the iPhone display. Gruber can disagree with that assertion, and there's certainly an argument to be made against it, but instead he misrepresents it. "Why are people saying all iPhones should get bigger? I want a smaller iPhone!"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gruber
It’s not like 4-inch screens are harder to make, or use some sort of new technology. If anything they’re surely easier to make, as the pixels are less dense.
Here Gruber repeats the "any larger iPhone display would just be blown up" assertion. Again, that's not the route I think Apple would take, if they were to introduce a larger-screened iPhone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gruber
One big advantage of a 3.5-inch display: with average-size hands, your thumb can reach any pixel on screen more comfortably while holding the phone one-handed.
This is a good point if true, but I'm tempted to ask if Gruber has done a study observing smartphone users with average-sized hands, or if he is just assuming Apple did and is parroting the conclusion he assumes they came to because it's convenient for his point. In any case, the obvious counterpoint is that not everyone has average-sized hands.

And Apple's other input devices have never seemed to have had ergonomics as their highest priority.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gruber
Bigger is better, period, they say, and anyone who says otherwise is in denial that Apple is falling behind its competition. But by that logic, 5-inch screens would be better than 4-inch ones, and 6-inch screens better still. That’s silly. Bigger is not necessarily better for handheld/pocket devices.
Slippery slope much? Again with misrepresenting the argument; nobody's suggesting that the iPhone screen should increase an inch each year from now until the end of time. By his logic, I could represent his opinion as saying that nothing about the iPhone should ever change ever, because it would be hard for developers/it would fragment the line-up/if Apple didn't think EDGE was the one true iPhone connection speed, they would have used 3G from the start, &c.

Gruber is better than this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gruber
People who claim to be disappointed that Apple’s 2011 new iPhone doesn’t have a bigger display or LTE are effectively arguing that the iPhone should be more like Android.
Here he wields "those people like Android!" as an odd sort of pejorative. No true Apple fan would prefer a larger screen, I guess.

I guess moving from having one screen size to having two would, technically, make the iPhone slightly more like Android. (Not nearly as much as iOS 5's notification center does, but I digress.) It's a question of finding a happy balance. Would having two screen sizes lead to Android-style rampant fragmentation? I don't think so. Maybe that's what Gruber thinks, but he's not actually arguing that. He's just saying "it'd be more like Android!" and leaving it at that.

Like I said, there's good arguments to be made against having two screen sizes — I'm not saying I'm 100% sold on the idea — but Gruber isn't actually making them. He's not doing the work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gruber
Whereas in truth, the iOS and Android platforms are growing more different over time, not less.
Really? Last week there was two iPhones to choose from. This week, there are three. That doesn't seem like a step away from Android-style diversity to me. (Furthermore: Will the iPhone 3GS get iOS 6? If not, that's another step closer to Android, selling models that won't receive future major software updates. All previous iPhones received at least one after they ceased being sold.)

i won't let you hurt my planet / and i won't let you hurt my friends
 
Partial
Stallion
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Milwaukee
 
2011-10-07, 22:20

Really good post Robo.

Can anyone imagine a use case for a smaller screen iPhone than 3.5"? I cannot. Having said that, bring on iPhone (4.5" 720P) and iPhone Mini (3.5" current res) next year.

One thing that I was unsure about with the tear drop design was reception. On the iPad with 3G, Apple has a plastic piece on the edge of one side for antennas. Would they have to do the same thing with a phone? Seems like it would encompass more of the area.

I wish I was on the tick instead of the tock of the product cycle, assuming that's what it is. I want the new design first, not the improvement of it!

...and calling/e-mailing/texting ex-girlfriends on the off-chance they'll invite you over for some "old time's sake" no-strings couch gymnastics...
 
drewprops
Magnificent Basturd™
sagacious-d
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2011-10-07, 22:42

Ditto.
Robo you need to write for a tech site.
It's fun to read your posts.
 
Maciej
M AH - ch ain saw
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2011-10-07, 22:44

Quote:
Originally Posted by Partial View Post
I wish I was on the tick instead of the tock of the product cycle, assuming that's what it is. I want the new design first, not the improvement of it!
Funny, for once I wish I was on the "tock" of the product cycle. Normally I would want the new design, but I've come to realize that the added functionality in the upgraded version is more important.

User formally known as Sh0eWax
 
pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2011-10-07, 22:50

I agree. I like the idea of a proven, tested design sweetened on the inside on a second go-around.
 
Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Cascadia
 
2011-10-07, 23:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
I agree. I like the idea of a proven, tested design sweetened on the inside on a second go-around.
Of course, if Gruber is right about the tick-tock thing, a benefit of buying in a "new design" year is that you'd have the opportunity to choose: If you preferred the new design, you could get it for $199, and if you preferred the old design — teardrop iPhone 5, anyone? — you'd still be able to buy a fairly current example of the old design for $99.

Of course, this is assuming Apple continues to use previous iPhone models as their lower-end models, which isn't a bulletproof assumption.

i won't let you hurt my planet / and i won't let you hurt my friends
 
chucker
 
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2011-10-08, 02:17

Great post up until the point, anyway, where you get into your weird screen size obsession again. I still haven't seen any good explanation how a bigger screen size would work.
 
Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2011-10-08, 07:05

Eminent opening post for a thread which is likely to roll on for a whole year, Robo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
But that raises the question: if Apple's not planning on giving the iPhone design anything more than minor tweaks, why "demote" the minor-tweaked iPhone 4S by calling it the 4S? "For Steve" is cute, but that doesn't seem likely. The answer is I don't know. It's not terribly important, but if Apple is getting to the point where they're not going to majorly rethink the iPhone's form factor, they shouldn't train people to expect that from each "true" iPhone n+1.
I think it’s ridiculous to put so much emphasis on the model name. It has exactly squat to do with the phones actual capabilities and I strongly suspect that at some point in the future Apple is simply going to simple call it iPhone like they do with all the Macs. However, before we can get to that the differences in capability between the old and the new models will have to narrow some. As it is now, it is meaningful to distinguish between the various iPhone models because they offer different capabilities, but as the pace of evolution slows and the iPhone matures this will no longer be the issue.

There is also a certain perception of quality in buying a tech product that won’t feel old next year. With a desktop PC my friends would always ask me about the specs, but with my iMac they just fawn at it and accept that it is a superior machine.

Quote:
The rest of this post is responding to Gruber's points about screen size, so if that bores you, move along.
Here’s my take on the whole screen size deal. I might be rehashing some of your arguments, Robo:

There are now three different generations of iPhones on sale with three different levels of computing power and two different screen resolutions, but with only one physical screen size. Add the iPod touch and you get one variation more (A4 plus non-retina resolution). Differing iOS versions does not add any more variations as they tend to match the different hardware variations. This leaves a nice and simple platform for developers to work with and is probably a big part of why iOS is more profitable to work on than Android with it’s plethora of different spec variations. I remember that Epic mentioned that this was the main reason why Infinity Blade wouldn’t be profitable on Android. So there definitively is a value to keeping the same screen size.

Human anatomy, however, does also vary and all peoples hands are not of the same size. Apple has probably deemed 3.5” to be the size the fit’s most, but I accept that it is reasonable to as for more then one size of shoe.

One way to go about this could be to make a 4” iPhone that is simply a scaled up 3.5” iPhone. It would be kind of like the 14” iBook which had the same resolution as the 12” iBook, but apart from that was pretty much the same machine. Battery life and storage would be easy to improve in the case of a 4” iPhone and if the screen resolution was kept the same, then it wouldn’t truly be another hardware variation that the app developers would have to worry about. To me such an iPhone would be just as meh as the 14” iBook, but for people with big hands it might be just perfect.

As far as making a smaller iPhone, you could go the same way and keep the same resolution and compress the screen size to say 3.2”. But I don’t think that is remotely as attractive as keeping the screen the same as the iPhone 4S and simply trimming and slimming the rest of the phone down in size. This would benefit both people with smaller hands and everybody else without adding another SKU to the lineup.

Off-topic (click to toggle):
One other thing that Apple could do to make a smaller iPhone, and which I strongly believe that they will eventually do, is to introduce a wristwatch iPhone Nano. It’s unlikely to happen within the next couple of years, but it seems like the very logical next step, especially now that Siri make the touch screen UI less vital. Of course this would be a somewhat different beast than any other iPhone and most current apps wouldn’t work on it, yet if Apple’s strategy is to enter new categories from existing positions of strength then they will be more capable than anyone else to do this.

The biggest challenge with the wrist form factor is probably going to be getting the audio into the users ear without allowing every body else to listen in on it. It’s quite easy to hold your a wrist mounted microphone to your mouth when you are talking, but the speaker needs to be in it’s own separate earpiece. So using the iPhone Nano would probably include wearing an earpiece all the time. But once that issue has been resolved there are really no more technical or ergonomic obstacles to making such a device happen.

Therefore I believe that just like the watch moved from our pockets to our wrists, so will our phones. And who could be better than Apple at getting the implementation just right?


Quote:
Really? Last week there was two iPhones to choose from. This week, there are three. That doesn't seem like a step away from Android-style diversity to me. (Furthermore: Will the iPhone 3GS get iOS 6? If not, that's another step closer to Android, selling models that won't receive future major software updates. All previous iPhones received at least one after they ceased being sold.)
I’m also a little concerned about keeping the 3Gs in production. Of course it is a much better option than wasting time on developing a low-end model with somewhat the same features and inability to run the latest software when you already have a by all means excellent phone with a well rehearsed production line. It’s just that it doesn’t seem very Steve-like not to ruthlessly press forward and I think many people are looking at this and seeing a clue as to, how the post-Steve Apple is going to conduct their business. On the other hand, Apple is now firmly positioned in the developed world and the next big growth opportunity lies the emerging markets where the 3Gs is probably going to be seen as a sweet deal for many new Apple customers. I say we give Tim a chance to prove himself.

Last edited by Mugge : 2011-10-08 at 10:34. Reason: See chuckers post below.
 
adamb
Formerly “adambrennan”
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Northern Ireland
 
2011-10-08, 09:28

Siri only user interface with no screen, think iPod shuffle, just to bring an end to all this screen size nonsense
 
chucker
 
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2011-10-08, 10:09

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugge View Post
There are now three different generations of iPhones on sale with three different levels of computing power and two different screen resolutions, but with only one physical screen size. Add the iPod touch and you get one variation more (A4 plus non-retina resolution).
Not sure I follow. The iPod touch 4G is retina.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugge View Post
Human anatomy, however, does also vary and all peoples hands are not of the same size. Apple has probably deemed 3.5” to be the size the fit’s most, but I accept that it is reasonable to as for more then one size of shoe.

One way to go about this could be to make a 4” iPhone that is simply a scaled up 3.5” iPhone. It would be kind of like the 14” iBook which had the same resolution as the 12” iBook, but apart from that was pretty much the same machine.
I was just thinking of the 14-inch iBook earlier today. So yes, this isn't unprecedented. But I think that machine was the exception rather than the rule, and I doubt they were very proud of it.
 
Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2011-10-08, 10:32

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
Not sure I follow. The iPod touch 4G is retina.
Of course it is! My bad.

Quote:
I was just thinking of the 14-inch iBook earlier today. So yes, this isn't unprecedented. But I think that machine was the exception rather than the rule, and I doubt they were very proud of it.
Hence my "meh" statement. It would be yet another departure from Steves perfectionism, but if there are enough customers like Partial, a more pragmatic Apple might let it happen.
 
Quagmire
meh
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2011-10-08, 11:20

I will be watching this closely as I will probably be upgrading my iPhone 4 to the 6. I hope it brings at least LTE.
 
Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Cascadia
 
2011-10-08, 12:48

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
Great post up until the point, anyway, where you get into your weird screen size obsession again. I still haven't seen any good explanation how a bigger screen size would work.
I'm not obsessed with bigger screens. Believe it or not, if Apple were to offer a 3.5" and 4.5" iPhone, I'm not sure which I'd choose. It would probably depend on their prices, and how cute the iPhone mini was.

I just still don't see any good reason to believe that the iPhone will not ever change in this way, and I think a lot of the reasons Gruber used to dismiss it out of hand were bullshit. Like I said, there is an argument to be made against it; I just wish Gruber had done a better job of making it.

If I'm obsessed with anything, it's calling out bullshit when I see it. It's why I post here so much
 
chucker
 
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2011-10-08, 13:08

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
II just still don't see any good reason to believe that the iPhone will not ever change in this way, and I think a lot of the reasons Gruber used to dismiss it out of hand were bullshit.
Not ever? Yeah, me neither. Right now? Plenty of reasons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
If I'm obsessed with anything, it's calling out bullshit when I see it. It's why I post here so much


It does seem like changing the iPhone's screen size is near and dear to your heart, though…
 
Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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2011-10-08, 13:41

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
Not ever? Yeah, me neither. Right now? Plenty of reasons.
I should note that I'm not disagreeing with Gruber's central thesis. He's essentially looking at the disappointed reactions to the 4S and asking, "What more did you people want?" He's asking why the hell people are disappointed, besides the not-5 name.

I'm not disappointed with the iPhone 4S. I think it's the best phone in the world, hands down, and I'd buy one if my network carried it. I'm not saying it will flop because it has a 3.5" screen. But instead of arguing why the 4S kept the same screen size, Gruber seems to be arguing that all iPhones will, which strikes me as a really good way to be wrong. (He also misrepresents the other argument, which strikes me as disingenuous and not up to his usual standard.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker
It does seem like changing the iPhone's screen size is near and dear to your heart, though…
Well, I have a 4.3" phone right now, and I like it. And I think a 16:9 screen makes sense, so that when you watched 16:9 video you wouldn't have to do the double-tap to zoom in/out thing. And the shape of the iPhone is closer to 16:9 anyway...

Idunno. I'd sort of like to be involved in the creation of iPhone games, someday, and I guess I'd like to have a wider canvas upon which to paint. I mean, a 4.5" screen...that's PlayStation Vita territory. I think a wider window could make the experience more immersive. The holy grail is a console-quality experience, not just in specs and performance but also in immersion and production values, and I think a wider window to the game world could help complete that experience.

You're free to disagree, of course. And I understand why people value compactness, too. That's why I view it as an expansion of the line-up. I'm not saying Apple will make 4.5" the One True Screen Size, just that I don't think 3.5" will always be the same.
 
chucker
 
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2011-10-08, 13:53

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
I'm not saying it will flop because it has a 3.5" screen. But instead of arguing why the 4S kept the same screen size, Gruber seems to be arguing that all iPhones will, which strikes me as a really good way to be wrong.
Yes, though it's a question of semantics. Is Mac OS X part of Mac OS? If it isn't, the phrase "Mac OS will always have QuickDraw" is true. Otherwise, it's false. I bring this up because it's conceivable that, some day, iPhones will have developed way past how we think of iPhones today, and it's possible that it won't be until then that the screen size changes. I.e., that it will take not an evolutionary revision, but a radical change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
(He also misrepresents the other argument, which strikes me as disingenuous and not up to his usual standard.)
Not sure if deliberate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
Well, I have a 4.3" phone right now, and I like it. And I think a 16:9 screen makes sense, so that when you watched 16:9 video you wouldn't have to do the double-tap to zoom in/out thing. And the shape of the iPhone is closer to 16:9 anyway...

Idunno. I'd sort of like to be involved in the creation of iPhone games, someday, and I guess I'd like to have a wider canvas upon which to paint. I mean, a 4.5" screen...that's PlayStation Vita territory. I think a wider window could make the experience more immersive. The holy grail is a console-quality experience, not just in specs and performance but also in immersion and production values, and I think a wider window to the game world could help complete that experience.

You're free to disagree, of course. And I understand why people value compactness, too. That's why I view it as an expansion of the line-up. I'm not saying Apple will make 4.5" the One True Screen Size, just that I don't think 3.5" will always be the same.
In that sense, increasing the size makes a lot of sense for the iPod touch. After all, they do market it as a game console (if not the single most successful handheld game console) (and then proceed not to upgrade its GPU this year!).

I don't really see myself watching movies long enough for aspect ratio to matter on that small a screen. Short YouTube clips, sure, but anything more meaningful wouldn't feel immersive enough to me. I've tried.
 
Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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2011-10-08, 15:48

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
Yes, though it's a question of semantics. Is Mac OS X part of Mac OS? If it isn't, the phrase "Mac OS will always have QuickDraw" is true. Otherwise, it's false. I bring this up because it's conceivable that, some day, iPhones will have developed way past how we think of iPhones today, and it's possible that it won't be until then that the screen size changes. I.e., that it will take not an evolutionary revision, but a radical change.
I think we're more in agreement than you think.

Adding a second screen size would be the most radical change to the product line yet. It would literally change the face of the product, in a way that would be immediately obvious even to people who had only seen pictures of the iPhone before. If the larger screen had a different aspect ratio or pixel count, it would require developers to choose to support it, and whether to only support it. There would be two iPhones. It would split the app base in an unprecedented way.

The argument against it, the one Gruber doesn't quite make, is that Apple should never do this, that the gains don't outweigh the cost in added complexity. And it's entirely possible Apple views things that way — there's a convincing argument to be made, there. But the counter-argument is that the phone market is massive, certainly large enough to support two substantially different Apple products that target different segments. After all, the phone market is far larger than the notebook market or audio player market ever was, and Apple makes multiple MacBooks and non-iOS iPods to target different segments.

So, idunno. Apple's pretty smart, and if they decide to stick with 3.5" forever, I'm sure they'll have reasons. But I know what what I'd like them to do, and I think there's a case to be made for it.

But anyway. I want to talk about something else now

There's really not anything missing from the current iPhone, or even the 3GS, which is why Apple will have to continue "inventing" new key features, like FaceTime and Siri. This might not be as exciting as those two, but I think an area that is ripe for some Apple magic is NFC. Everybody still views this as just being about mobile payments, which to me is about as shortsighted as thinking the cloud is just a hard disk in the sky. Tap-to-pair for accessories seems like it has the "just works" qualities Apple values, but I'm also thinking tap-to-share for files. If you think about it, it's still surprisingly difficult to just give a file to someone — most people use email, even if they're standing right there. That seems like crossing a river by going the other way around the world, to me. There's got to be a better way.

i won't let you hurt my planet / and i won't let you hurt my friends
 
hmurchison
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2011-10-08, 16:48

I view this issue from a slightly different perspective.

The crutch here isn't dogmatic refusal to use larger screens. It's more rooted in legacy.
Keeping the same design for a couple of years allows your accessories market to recoup their
production investment.

The next is the tether. While we remain tethered to physical interfaces like sync cables and
dock adapters we will be funneled into static hardware designs.

The move is already underway to rectify this and once it's complete the size of the iOS device
matters not.

With iOS 5 we've eradicated the need for sync cables via Wifi Sync/iCloud backup
With Airplay we've eradicated the need for physical audio cables.

What's needed now is the replication of all dock functionality other than power over a wireless technology replete with
control and metadata.

The future looks like this:

I come home...I place my my iPhone or iPad tablet into any of the power receptacle to charge it. These devices report to the home network and
broadcast their services. In my bedroom my iHome clock sends/receives music data as well as my alarms to the devices. My Apple TV sends/receives
much more data because it subscribes to many more services.

Everything is tied to gather by Bluetooth, Wifi and other technologies. Once this happens I've eliminated all need for the dock to be anything more than a
power receptacle and I've neatly sidestepped the need to provide a specific form factor for my devices.

HM

omgwtfbbq
 
joveblue
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Melbourne
 
2011-10-08, 20:38

I disagree. The dock connector doesn't really do anything much to dictate the shape of a device. And Apple have done plenty of shit that makes the previous year's accessories incompatible because something's moved a couple of millimetres etc. They really just don't care about legacy support at all. Their accessories manufacturers are probably happy that they get to sell us new shit every year because not everything is forwards compatible.
 
pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2011-10-08, 20:57

I wonder if it's something as simply/silly as trying to keep the iPhone and iPod touch development (pretty much the same, I suppose) neat and tidy?

When the iPad was introduced, that created a new, larger 1024x767 9.7" screen that required developers to re-purpose their marquee apps if they wanted on that gravy train (face it...nobody wants to do the 2x thing (it's fuzzy) and it's silly to run an iPhone-sized app in the middle of an iPad screen. The iPad coming out was the first bit of new, extra work many developers had to do in a while (if they wanted a native, built-for-iPad app to offer).

That was the first deviation from the 3.5" iPhone/iPod touch sizes, and it's taken some companies forever to come around (some still haven't...Facebook, which I find odd).

Anyway, I'm just thinking of it from a control/approval/neatness standpoint, how it's easy for people to create apps to run on two, same-sized devices and cover a lot of ground.

I know there's a difference between the original iPhone/iPod touch displays and the current Retina Display-equipped ones. Things ran okay, but replacing some graphics here and there certainly helped.

But if things go to 4", 4.3" or whatever (possibly with different aspect ratios to boot), then you're branching out again, and you're just going to have a borderline c.f. in the store. I know it's not impossible, but you can't tell me that it wouldn't introduce a layer of complexity (or outright confusion) to some. Maybe that's just something Apple isn't prepared to get into? Because it'll ultimately fall back on them as well, in many ways.

And a bit of additional, tedious work for developers and designers who may not be able to sell these again, so there's no big payoff on the backend?
 
screensaver400
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
 
2011-10-09, 00:33

If they change screen sizes, I think there's only one way to do it: keep the width the 640 pixels it currently is, and add to the length's 960 pixels.

This means that even apps designed explicitly for the 3:2 ratio would work fine, they'd just be pillar boxed. Most current games would end up like this.

However, I'd think apps like Safari, Mail, etc, which have controls at the top or bottom, would work with little trouble--the viewport would just be expanded, and the controls would still stay locked to the top and bottom.

You can't do 16:9 evenly with 640 pixels in height. 1.85:1 would work out obviously, and is close enough to 16:9 that most people wouldn't notice.
 
Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2011-10-09, 07:17

Re: screen sizes

A 6'0" friend of mine is saying that 4.5" screen phones aren't comfortable in her hand in an ongoing Facebook wall post, so to each his/her own. Basically she was an iPhone basher, but is now leaning toward the 4S because her priorities are 1) call quality, 2) camera quality, 3) processor power and 4) "something that won't have problems functioning 3 months after I buy it." About half the people in the conversation are telling her to get a Nexus Prime instead.

--

Personally, I find the current size/form of the iPhone perfect for my needs. I keep my keys, wallet and phone in my front pants pockets unless I'm wearing a sports coat or jacket. I don't want to walk around with a 5" tall phone in one pocket and the wallet in the other, both producing noticeable outlines around my pockets.
 
dmegatool
Custom User Title
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: At home
 
2011-10-09, 07:31

Though about you guys when I saw the article. http://m.gizmodo.com/5847981/this-is...s-be-35-inches

I like the thumb graph... It's pretty self-explanatory

Dave Mustaine :"God created whammy bars for people who don't know how to solo."
 
Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2011-10-09, 08:26

I think it gets the point across, but holy shit that image is poorly done. Are both phones to scale? And if so, then why is one green circle larger than the other?
 
dmegatool
Custom User Title
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: At home
 
2011-10-09, 09:19

I don't know. We could only assume it's true. After all... it's on the internet.
 
chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2011-10-09, 09:56

So, I wrote entirely too much on this and still feel like I haven't covered every angle, but if anyone cares about my thoughts…

(Some elements on the page may require Safari 5.1, iOS 5 or Chrome.)
 
Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2011-10-09, 11:05

Not satisfied with Curtis's total disregard for scale, I made my own.

4.5" iPhone vs 4.96" Galaxy S II. I retained the relatively centered thumb positioning even though NOBODY holds their phone with their thumb gyrating around the middle of the vertical axis. The half-circle on the Galaxy S II might look bigger, but that is an optical illusion...they are identical.


Last edited by Eugene : 2011-10-09 at 11:48.
 
chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2011-10-09, 11:18

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene View Post
retained the relatively centered thumb positioning even though NOBODY holds their phone with their thumb gyrating around the middle of the vertical axis.
Huh? That's (almost) exactly how I hold my iPhone, unless I misunderstand you. I say almost because it's a bit lower than that, since there's really no point in reaching the earpiece with my thumb, but there is one in reaching the Home button..

The default position for me is to grip the back comfortably with the four fingers, then have the thumb hover roughly an inch over its display. This lets me reach its home button, as well as the entire screen. I can't do multi-touch gestures (duh), but pretty much anything else.
 
Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2011-10-09, 11:39

The default one-handed position for me is with the bottom corner of the phone cradled in by the palm area below the thumb. The thumb itself is shifted to the bottom quarter of the screen since that is where the most important UI elements are...on-screen keyboard, home button, unlock slider, etc. I can't imagine trying to spin my thumb to the home button with if I held the phone the way the images suggest.
 
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2011-10-09, 11:51

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
Huh? That's (almost) exactly how I hold my iPhone, unless I misunderstand you. I say almost because it's a bit lower than that, since there's really no point in reaching the earpiece with my thumb, but there is one in reaching the Home button..
The normal pivot point for the thumb for me and everyone I can remember seeing is at the bottom corner.



Or do you hold it like this so it pivots from the center? This feels terribly awkward and uncomfortable to me.



That said, Gizmodo's half-circle "coverage" images are obviously total rubbish. Nobody holds the device and has their thumb craned in a way that would actually permit reaching those whole areas. The joints simply don't bend comfortably that far.

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