Recent reports following the unveiling of the iPhone 4S were very critical of Apple’s decision not to increase the size of the iPhone 4S screen, which will remain at 3.5 inches, similar to that of the iPhone 4. Critics are quick to point out that this could leave the iPhone severely disadvantaged against rival smart phones such as the Galaxy S2 and the upcoming Nexus Prime. The former is already making headlines for the amazing technology that is packed underneath its shell but more importantly, it is able to proudly market itself as a smart phone that has a screen that is almost an entire inch (4.27 inches) larger than the iPhone. However, the question remains, does bigger always mean better. Perhaps bigger is better but only to a certain extent and in the case of smart phones, may be not so much.
The Samsung Galaxy S2, while featuring a larger screen is somewhat clumsy to handle with one hand. If you want to feel confident handling it, you need to use both your hands. Moreover, it does not exactly fit in your pocket easily. This problem is not entirely isolated to Samsung, a variety of other manufacturers like HTC and LG are also churning out smart phones with “monster screens”. If this trend continues anymore, then the lines between smaller tablet computers and smart phones will be blurred further. Certainly, it is easier to read with larger screens but we must remember that smart phones should emphasize on mobility as well as functionality: striking a delicate balance between the two.
Apple’s decision to stick with a 3.5-inch screen was a good idea but unfortunately, it is almost certain that it would increase the size of the screen when it unveils the iPhone 5. The ideal size should be within 4 inches. Anything larger becomes difficult to handle and hence the “mobility” factor of the phone decreases. Perhaps, manufactures will start limiting the size of the screens once tablet computers like the iPad become mature enough to appear as an essential gadget. The wider acceptance of tablet computers may reduce the temptation and allure of larger screens. For now, the best short-term solution may involve increasing the standard size of our pockets.