While the Apple iPhone rumor mill has taken a break since a late-March Reuters article indicated that Apple may use a 4.6-inch screen in the next iPhone, a new report from iLounge editor-in-chief Jeremy Horwitz alludes to a thinner, longer version of the next iPhone that uses a 4.0-inch screen. While attempting to keep the phone the same width as the current iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S, the new iPhone design increases the height of the smartphone and alters the aspect ratio to a widescreen format with the 4.0-inch screen. Horwitz indicates that rear casing of the new iPhone will be metal rather than glass and completely flat rather than use a curved body style.
Keeping the front body design identical to the glass on the iPhone 4 and 4S, the new iPhone is approximately 20 percent thinner than the previous version. Specifically, the iPhone 4S is 9.3mm thick and the new iPhone would be 7.4mm thick.
According to Horwitz, this will be accomplished by using Gorilla Glass 2 on the new phone. The new version of Gorilla Glass can be manufactured thinner than the Gorilla Glass found on the iPhone 4S, but at the same strength as the current iPhone. Gorilla Glass is widely used by many smartphone manufacturers including LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and HTC.
Beyond forcing iPhone 4 and 4S owners to purchase new cases for the altered height of the new smartphone, iOS developers would have to create two different resolutions of applications to cover all users. However, older applications could easily run on the new iPhone at the old resolution with .25-inch black bars above and below the on-screen graphics, somewhat similar to watching 4:3 television content on a widescreen HDTV. App developers could also use the extra space on the screen for a variety of touch controls that don’t interfere with the main area. For instance, game developers could create visual buttons and place them in the black space to the left and right of the phone when holding it horizontally. However, this would be the first time Apple has altered the aspect ratio on the iPhone since 2007.
According to 9to5Mac, iLounge’s reputation for predicting future iterations of Apple products have been fairly accurate and stem from “multiple sources inside the case-making industry due to its CES iLounge affiliations.” Beyond the alteration in screen size and thickness, Horwitz claims that the dock on the bottom of the phone will change from the familiar 30-pin dock connector to a smaller size. This new dock connector potentially has as little as 16 pins and would be rolled out on all new iOS devices including the next iPad and the next iPod Touch. However, this will require the consumer electronics industry to manufacture brand new iPhone-compatible devices that utilize the new dock unless a dock adapter is released.
The launch window of the new iPhone still remains a mystery and many consumers are waiting for more information to be released at Apple’s WWDC 2012 conference taking place in approximately six weeks in San Francisco. Last year at WWDC 2011, Apple went into great detail about the improvements that iOS 5 would bring to the iPhone and iPad platforms. However, Steve Jobs used the keynote at WWDC 201o to announced the launch of the iPhone 4, so it’s possible that Apple could repeat this process at WWDC 2012.