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Several iOS developers welcome Apple's larger-screen iPhone

May 21, 2012|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • Speculation about an upcoming iPhone with a larger screen is heating up, and iOS developers would welcome it. Above, Apple CEO Tim Cook unveils the iPhone 4S in fall.
Speculation about an upcoming iPhone with a larger screen is heating up,… (Robert Galbraith / Reuters )

The sixth-generation iPhone is expected to have a larger screen, and several iOS developers say they would receive that change with a warm welcome.

Rumors began earler this month saying the next iPhone, expected to arrive in October, could come with a 4-inch screen. Since its launch in 2007, Apple has never messed with the 3.5-inch size of its phone screen.

But reports of the upcoming large-screen phone keep growing stronger, with some even saying Steve Jobs directly worked on this version of the phone.

And if the reports are indeed accurate, a 4-inch screen iPhone would be a welcomed upgrade in Apple's iPhone devices.

A bigger screen means more real estate for developers and a bigger playground for users, said David Marino, co-founder of Hidden Variable Studios, which developed the smartphone game BagIt.

"When people are playing apps on their iPhone you always have the danger of including too much information on screen where it can't fit," he said. With a larger screen "you can convey more information, but it seems like it's more spread out."

And while a half-inch may not seem like much, Marino said, in reality that's a huge upgrade.

"If you actually have it in your hand, it's a pretty noticable difference when youre playing it," he said, adding that the extra space allows game developers to add another row of icons or gameplay area.

"It feels like you have a more powerful device," he said. "You have a better experience."

It also adds more opportunity to make money. Robert Jackman, the executive chairman of ooVoo, a video calling service, said a larger screen could make advertising on mobile easier for app developers.

"Currently, it's hard to offer advertisements on mobile devices because the smaller screens makes it more difficult," he said. "It's more burdensome to the user experience. Having a larger screen allows you to do a little bit more in terms of advertisement."

Jackman also said that even if a larger-screen iPhone forced iOS developers to make two apps -- one for the new one and one for previous generations -- that wouldn't be an issue.

Most iOS developers already went through that when the iPad was introduced, and many of them have several versions of their apps for the many different kinds of Android phones.

"Android is actually in many ways more difficult to develop for than iOS because of the fact that there's so many Android devices," he said.

One reason that has been thrown out for the larger screen is to bring back the "wow" factor to the iPhone. If a larger screen means more people buy iPhones, then Jeremy Wacksman, vice president of marketing and mobile for Zillow, welcomes it.

More people are using mobile to connect to the Internet, so if more people are getting smartphones, that's helpful to app developers, Wacksman said.

"We want to be in as many people's pockets as we can," he said.

And if the change really does come, Wacksman said, based on previous experience with new iPhone and iOS features, he thinks it will go over smoothly.

"We've had a really good experience working with the iOS ecosystem," he said. "We've been really happy every time it's evolved."

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