Here’s a little tidbit that we just discovered, and it’s all about the size of the iPhone’s screen. More specifically, it’s all about why the iPhone’s screen is still 3.5-inches across its diagonal, while most Android, and even Windows Phone 7 (ultimate special super duper series edition 7) handsets are sporting ever increasing screen dimensions.
The revelation comes from Dustin Curtis, a designer who has been spending a little time with a Samsung Galaxy S II Android phone, complete with its huge 4.21-inch screen. Apparently, the reason Apple’s iPhones are smaller is all down to how you use the device with one hand, and more to the point, where your thumb reaches.
When you first see a phone with a 4-inch or larger screen, it seems like a much better experience. I thought it was a technical decision, and it could be, but since switching to an Android phone — a Samsung Galaxy S II, the “best Android phone you can buy, anywhere” — 15 days ago, I have realized another huge downside of larger screens: when holding the phone with one hand, I can’t reach the other side of the screen with my thumb.
By contrast, Curtis notes that when using an iPhone, he has no trouble reaching across its screen, and can happily tap away on the far side to where his palm lays. This does actually make perfect sense, and gels well with my own personal experience with smartphones.
Over the last few months I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on a few different handsets to have a play with, and two of those sported considerably larger screens than my iPhone 4. The two smartphones I’m thinking of are the Samsung Nexus S, and the HTC HD7 (Windows Phone 7).
Both screens are pretty expansive – the Nexus S comes with a 4-inch display, while the HD7 is even larger at a whopping 4.3-inches.
In the case of both handsets, I struggled to use their massive screens properly. Simply reaching up to the notification drawer on the Nexus S proved hard work for me, though I must confess, I do have rather small hands considering I’m a 29-year old male. Still, the point still stands.
The HD7, well, that just felt too big in general. The creaky case construction didn’t really help here, either.
But I digress. Did Apple choose to go with a 3.5-inch screen because of ergonomics, instead of following the lead of the competition who clearly believe that big is better?
It’s possible, and if true, don’t expect to see a larger screen coming to the iPhone any time soon.