updated 11:42 pm EST, Tue January 14, 2014
Also bets on possible AMOLED screen for rumored 'iWatch' device
Computer research firm DisplaySearch has published its 2014 tech forecast, and is predicting that the next-generation iPhone (expected to arrive next fall) will sport a dramatically larger display. The report -- which is not based on any insider knowledge, but has in the past been known to guess correctly on Apple's moves -- calls for as large as a 5.5-inch high-resolution display. The company also believes Apple may use AMOLED display technology for its rumored "iWatch."
Along with others in the tech sphere, DisplaySearch believes the company is planning a screen size between 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, to be accompanied by a jump in resolution. The smaller option might offer a 1600x900 resolution at 386 pixels per inch, as compared to the current iPhone 5 family, which has a four-inch screen with 1136x640 screen at 326 ppi, which constitutes a "Retina display" in Apple's terminology, meaning the pixels are sufficiently small that at normal operating distance, individual pixels can't be distinguished with normal eyesight.
A 4.7-inch unit with the 1600x900 resolution would retain the current "16:9" aspect ratio, but would mark a change by being slightly wider than any previous model. The analysis also believes Apple could decide on a 5.5-inch "Full HD" resolution display, 1920x1080, that would offer a pixel density of 407ppi -- using a low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) technology that may already be in use on some iPhone 5s screens.
The report also addresses the rumor of a future, alleged "iPad Pro" that would supposedly have a 12.9-inch display featuring a "2K" display (2732x2048), though there has been no evidence of a market demand for the product, nor have any tablets larger than the iPad done well in the market so far. There is also a lack of credible reports of Apple actually building such units beyond possible prototype models.
DisplaySearch believes that Apple will turn to a high-density 320x320 AMOLED display for its "iWatch," a rumored product that is alleged to come out later this year (though again, apart from some patents there is little hard evidence that Apple is making this product at present). To support its case, DisplaySearch points to existing, flexible 1.3-inch and 1.6-inch displays, which while small can have Retina-level pixel densities of up to 348ppi.