Cowen and Company managing director title="timothy arcuri, cowen and company analyst">Timothy Arcuri issued an investor’s note today claiming that his supply chain sources confirm that the screen size for the next iPhone (iPhone 6 or Air or…) will be 4.8 inches. Apple Insider credits Arcuri with saying that the design for the new phone is “locked down” with that larger screen size and the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard.
Along with “hardware tweaks and design changes,” the real story with the next iPhone, Arcuri predicts, will be the software and applications that the 64-bit A7 processor and Touch ID fingerprint sensor introduced in the iPhone 5c will allow. He believes that the 5S was a ”set-up” for the iPhone 6 and the next version of iOS that it will introduce. Arcuri says that these ”key software innovations” will take advantage of iBeacon, Touch ID and Passbook “as part of a push into new services with mobile payments.”
The upgraded WiFi capabilities will match the capacity of the updated 2013 Mac desktop and laptop computers as well as AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule routers, compared to the iPhone 5S that only supports the older 802.11n standard. So for hardcore Apple fans, the iPhone 6 will be a must-have companion to their other late-model hardware. It is the increased screen real estate that will attract the most attention, however.
The unanswered question waiting to be asked of the supply chain is the exact pixel dimension of the new 4.8 inch screen. Will it maintain the iPhone 5′s 1136-by-640 proportion just with a slightly lower pixels per inch resolution? Or will Apple follow the guesswork of 9to5 Mac’s Ben Lovejoy (see image below) and go for 1420 by 800 at the current 326 ppi density? Keeping that 640 width would sure make developers happy in app land, but having their flagship go backwards in terms of resolution would be a very un-Apple-like thing to do.
Apple could always take the middle path and go for a 768 pixel width to match the standard iPad dimension and still be within the retinal ballpark. But iPad apps are scaled differently than iPhone apps (for good reasons) so this little equivocation would likely satisfy no one. I’m betting that Apple will go for a new width and introduce a more responsive method of app scaling in iOS 8.
Adding to the Cowen and Company report’s thesis that Apple’s “product mojo is back” is their contention that, “We continue to expect a 13″ iPad to debut this Sept and be accretive to overall iPad units as we believe it will likely run both Mac OS and iOS, further blurring the lines between tablets and PCs and suggesting this product could finally fill the demand wedge for content creation on a ‘tablet.’” Such a device could replace laptops in many businesses and schools and lead to a wholesale merging of OS X and iOS.
Further, Arcuri sees new revenue “demand pools” for Apple as it makes a “big push into services with payments back-end, leveraging iPhone 6 in conjunction w/iBeacon/fingerprint/passport and a rapidly growing iTunes commercial base.” And he’s not even mentioning the possibility of an iWatch…