The next iPhone — the one with the bezel-less screen that leaked out in the HomePod code over the weekend — might be getting a massive jump in screen resolution in addition to the revamped design, according to a tweet from developer Steve Troughton-Smith. According to Troughton-Smith, there are references in the code for an upcoming iPhone with a functional resolution of 1125 x 2436, a number that gels with an existing rumor back in February from typically reliable KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
There are little tidbits in the OS suggesting upcoming iPhone will have a 3x screen at 1125×2436. Hard to gauge what that will mean for devs pic.twitter.com/SK8QjOAfDt
— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) July 31, 2017
As the mockup from 9to5Mac shows below, Kuo’s number assumes that a portion of the rumored 5.8-inch display will be portioned off as a virtual home button / function area, leaving a 5.15-inch chunk of the display as a functional screen.
Assuming all this is true, then the iPhone 8 will offer a display that’s an order of magnitude better than current iOS devices. An iPhone 7, with a 1334 × 750 resolution on a 4.7-inch display offers what Apple calls a “Retina display” at 326 ppi. An effectively 5.15-inch screen with the rumored 2436 x 1125 resolution would offer roughly 521 ppi. For comparison, the original iPhone ran at 480 x 320, which was doubled to 960 x 640 for the original Retina display on the iPhone 4, which has since grown to scale with the larger screen sizes that Apple has used in subsequent devices to maintain that 2x scaling on current devices. The rumored resolution here implies that iOS would be running at another order of magnitude of pixel destiny with 3x Retina assets.
In other words, the iPhone 8 could be as much of a visual leap forward from current-generation iPhones as the iPhone 4’s Retina display was from the original iPhone. It would also put Apple on par with more recent high-end Android phones like the Galaxy S8 (2960 x 1440) or the Google Pixel (1080 x 1920), which tend to offer more pixel-dense displays to help with functions like VR.
For now, this is a lot of speculation off a small grain of evidence. It’s still unknown whether that number is accurate, what size the iPhone 8’s screen will be, and whether or not any of the estimates regarding the effective screen size and function area are even true.