The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 could have a Super Retina 461 PPI display

iPhone6displays

With the iPhone 6 set to come in two separate display sizes — a 4.7-inch model, and a 5.5-model — Apple needs to increase the iPhone’s resolution to keep up. But what will the new resolutions be? Up until now, Apple has stuck with 326 pixels-per-inch for all Retina iPhones, but will larger iPhones require higher pixel densities.

Pulling out a spreadsheet, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber worked out the math for what he thinks the resolutions of the iPhone 6 will be. Using the Pythagorean Theorem, Gruber says that he thinks the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will keep the current iPhone’s 326 pixels-per-inch, but the 5.5-inch model will have an astonishing 461 pixels-per-inch, making it practically Super Retina.

Although Gruber stresses he has no insider information, this is how he sees the exact resolutions breaking down:

• 4.7-inch display: 1334 × 750, 326 PPI
• 5.5-inch display: 2208 × 1242, 461 PPI

Gruber believes that these screens would allow Apple to easily upscale by doubling or tripling the pixels per inch of existing apps, similar to the way that non-Retina iPhone apps work on Retina iPhones. The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 would have a 1.38 times larger display, but the same pixels-per-inch as the iPhone 5, making upscaling UI elements a cinch. As for the 5.5-inch iPhone 6, UI elements would be upscaled by a factor of 3 when compared to non-Retina UI elements, but would still be backwards compatible with existing apps.

The bottom line? If Gruber’s right, the new iPhone 6 won’t just have a higher-resolution screen, but it won’t require developers to update their apps to work well on the new devices. And any fears that the bigger iPhones might be less “Retina” than the iPhone 5 have nothing to fear.

Make sure to read more of Gruber’s methodology at the link below. It’s a long but fascinating read, especially if you love math and detective work.

  • http://www.eazycomputers.com/ PhoneTechJay

    Wow if Im not mistaken doesn’t Sony have the highest right now at 443 PPI ? Those screen are absolutely beautiful. I can’t imagine how good this will look if its true..

    • Cam

      HTC One M8 has the highest as far as I know at over 500 PPI.

      • Cam

        Nevermind, just checked. 441. Sony might have the highest. Sorry for the false info. :)

      • http://www.eazycomputers.com/ PhoneTechJay

        Its okay Sony also has a 441 PPI. Still very nice.

      • balders

        LG G3 -1440 x 2560 pixels, 5.5 inches (~534 ppi pixel density)
        Super super retina?

      • http://www.eazycomputers.com/ PhoneTechJay

        Oh alright I have seen a few of them in person and those screens are pretty great too. After a certain PPI our eyes can’t tell the difference anyway so they all look about the same..

      • Adrayven

        After 400 I think you’re mostly just wasting CPU cycles and battery powering that kind of display.. It’s really like the CPU MHz wars of old.. really ROI just not worth it.. better to give me a 2 week or month long battery life please. :)

        I can barely see pixels on a 1440p 27″ screen.. much less at 5.5″!

        Anything over 1080p on something that small is a waste of cpu and battery IMHO…

      • Tim Tian

        Agreed! Just use FHD for phones, Good enough.

  • Zubeir Ghanty

    I read Gruber’s whole article. It totally makes sense for the 1334×750 res on 4.7″. But 2208×1242 on the 5.5″ would still mean that developers will need to cater for the new 154pt/in display, as opposed to the exisitng 163pt/in.

  • Old apple fan

    Lol, you guys at cult of Mac need to go out there, this is not astonishing, this (by the time the iphone comes out) old and outdated stuff, just look at lg g3 and oppo find.

  • AAPL_@_$101_Is_A_Done_Deal_:)

    It’s a darn shame how these sites continue making up highly speculative stories simply to get clicks. It’s not as though any high percentage of consumers are demanding ultra-high resolution displays for their smartphones. This is mainly a war of specs created by desperate Android manufacturers meant to hold disloyal customers to their brand. There’s also the loud-mouthed handful of tech-junkies who think they represent the consumer at large and are constantly asking for higher and higher resolutions for needless reasons. “Who’s going to offer the first 4K resolution smartphone because WE just can’t live without it.” What a load of nonsense.

  • TeeJay1100

    Lying!!

  • Fabio Antonio Esquivel Chacón

    To get these numbers, the measures would be:
    – 4.7′: 2.3 x 4.1 (rounded)
    – 5.5′: 2.7 x 4.8 (rounded)

    To get HD on 5.5′ diagonal, 414ppi are enough

  • Giovanni Cardona

    What if… what if the 5.5 inch version is really an iPad Nano and not an iPhone 6 “Large”?

    • Tim Tian

      It’s a phablet…

  • Noah T

    Apple would never make a move like this. Their definition of retina is based on how far you hold the display from you, and the bigger the display gets, the less ppi matters. It’d make perfect logical sense for a higher resolution on both so the smaller has the higher ppi as it is needed and the larger still retains a high ppi like with the highly rumored 1704×960. It’d make perfect logical sense for Apple, consumers, and especially developers.

  • Ithinkigetit

    So how many icons rows/columns will there be, will they be bigger or smaller, I read else where the resolution might be 1472 x 828, this will keep same size icons but give 2 extra rows and 1 extra column for the 4.7 inch, don’t know for the 5.5inch, but that makes sense, tho the ppi will be about 360ppi.

  • JES

    There is a huge difference between 326 ppi and 441 ppi…

  • tomthumb

    I’m not that technical…….but I just want to know if the new iphone will have a screen or camera as good as the galaxy? Every time I see a picture or a movie on one of those I am astonished at how great they look and play. I have a 5s now and hoping it will improve with the 6 as I don’t really want to switch.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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