Tim Cook: Screen Size Isn’t Everything, Shuns OLED Displays
Since the beginning of this year, there have been rumors that Apple may launch an iPhone with a bigger screen to compete with Android-based smartphones.
So it didn’t come as a surprise that Tim Cook was asked about it at Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference yesterday.
Tim Cook had this to say about smartphones with bigger screens:
I don’t want to say what we will do or won’t do, and so don’t interpret anything I say along those lines. Let me go back and compare it to the PC industry for a minute. The PC industry over the years, the way that companies competed were two things: specs and price. And so people would want to say, “I’ve got the largest drive,” or, “I’ve got the fastest processor,” or in the camera business people began to say, “I’ve got the most megapixels.”
The truth is, customers want a great experience, and they want quality. They want that “Aha!” moment each time that they use the product. And that’s rarely a function of any of those things. These are things that technology companies invent because they can’t have a great experience, and so they talk about the spec of something.
Do you know the speed of an AX processor [Apple’s chip processor for the iPhone and iPad]? You probably don’t. Does it matter? I mean, does it really matter at the end of the day? You want a fabulous experience when you open it, and when you use the product.
He also took a dig at OLED displays, which are used in most Android-based smartphones:
If you look at displays—if you kind of contrast this to displays—some people are focused on size. There’s a few other things about the display that are important. Some people use displays—like OLED displays, the color saturation is awful. If you ever buy anything online, and you want to really know what the color is, as many people do, you should really think twice before you depend on the color of the OLED display.
The Retina display is twice as bright as an OLED display. And so I only bring these points up to say there are many attributes of a display, and what Apple does is sweat every detail. We care about all of them, and we want the best display. And I think we’ve got it. I feel great about it.
Apple has gone out of it’s way to justify the reason for launching iPhone 5 with a taller 4-inch display rather a bigger display, both in terms of height and width. Here’s Apple’s justification, from the iPhone 5 feature description page:
Anyone can make a larger smartphone display. But if you go large for large’s sake, you end up with a phone that feels oversize, awkward, and hard to use. iPhone 5 features a 4-inch display designed the right way: it’s bigger, but it’s the same width as iPhone 4S. So everything you’ve always done with one hand — typing on the keyboard, for instance — you can still do with one hand. On a larger canvas that lets you see more of every web page. More of your inbox. More events on your calendar. Even more apps on your Home screen.
Apple also ran a television commercial, which explained why it was common sense to make a taller 4-inch display and poked fun at Android based smartphones with larger screens.
So despite these justifications will Apple launch an iPhone with a bigger screen? While I can’t say for certain it will happen this year, I’m quite sure that Apple will launch an iPhone with a bigger screen as based on what we’ve seen in the last few years, the rumors have been quite accurate and more importantly because it is currently giving people a good reason to buy an Android smartphone.
From left: iPhone 5 (4-inch), Galaxy S III (4.8-inch), iPhone Plus mockup (4.94-inch), Galaxy Note II (5.5-inch)
Do you want an iPhone with a bigger screen? What’s your take on the optimal smartphone screen size?