Tim Cook Makes the ~7-inch iPhone Steve Jobs Would Never Make! Victim of popular demand or villain?

How times have changed… Apple simply had to enter the screen measurement contest if they were to continue to sell more flagship phones.  - Tim Cook makes the ~7-inch iPhone Steve Jobs would never make!  Victim of popular demand or villain?

Steve Jobs and I don’t have much in common, but the one belief we share is that phones shouldn’t be as big as small tablets. And while our eternal affinity (it’s Steve and I, folks) for smaller phones remains intact even today, judging by sales, the general public seems to disagree with us (Jobs, me, same sentence).

And while we can’t predict what Steve’s opinion of the current state of the iPhone would be today, it is certain that iPhone users love their iPhone Maxes and buy them more than the smaller models. So, yeah, Apple had to start making bigger phones due to peer pressure coming from Android, but Cupertino ended up sticking around for pure demand/sales.

And guess what? It’s almost time for the next big thing Apple, and while iPhone 15 Pro Max is expected to keep the 6.7-inch display size introduced in 2020, according to several reliable sources, 2024’s iPhone 16 Ultra is now expected to grow to ~7 inches, or 6.9 if we’re to be precise ! We also expect the 6.1-inch iPhone to move to a 6.3-inch screen.

  • 3.5-inch iPhone (3G, 3GS, 4, 4S)
  • 4.0 inch iPhone (5, 5S, 5C)
  • 4.7-inch iPhones (6, 6S, 7, 8)
  • 5.8-inch iPhone (X, XS)
  • 6.1-inch iPhone (XR, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15)
  • 6.5-inch iPhone (XS Max, 11 Pro Max)
  • 6.7-inch iPhone (12 Pro Max, 13 Pro Max, 14 Pro Max, 14 Plus, 15 Pro Max)
  • 6.9-inch iPhone (iPhone 16 Ultra, rumored)

So why is Apple turning the iPhone into an iPad mini competitor, how big is it, and does the ~7-inch iPhone Ultra mean we may never get a foldable iPhone? Let’s take a look ahead.

Apple is changing: the 7-inch iPhone 16 Ultra was always coming, but will Tim Cook & Co finally succeed in making the huge iPhone really useful or are they simply out of ideas?

What’s interesting is that starting with the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Ultra (vanilla models are expected to keep the current display sizes), Apple will approach the iPhone the same way the company approaches its MacBook lineup. The MacBook Air is expected to arrive in 13- and 15-inch sizes soon, while the MacBook Pro offers 14- and 16-inch displays. So, there’s a strategy spillover there.

But the question that comes to mind is: do people want an iPhone that is bigger than the already big iPhone 14 Pro Max or Apple wants to make a bigger iPhone because the company needs more space to improve the phone?. And the answer is probably both.

Obviously, a bigger display is a bigger display, but as the physical size increases, Cupertino would have the ability to improve the iPhone in many other ways (I’m not saying they necessarily will). A bigger phone would allow for a bigger battery, a more comprehensive cooling solution, bigger camera sensors, and whatever else Tim Cook & Co has in mind for the future of the iPhone.

It’s no secret: smartphones are slowly but steadily reaching their maximum capabilities now, which means the next logical step is to switch to a different form factor (Apple doesn’t seem interested), or just keep resizing/enlarging them, so the hardware inside can improve slightly. But can Apple surprise us with some expected/unexpected new software/hardware features?

iOS 17 to turn iPhone into a bedside clock; 6.9-inch iPhone 16 Ultra to justify its size with new buttons, new cameras and (hopefully) a new design

But what would actually make a 6.9-inch iPhone worthwhile and justify carrying an even bigger brick in your pocket? A slightly larger display for watching YouTube videos can’t be all it is, right? Well, if the leaks and rumors are to be believed, bigger iPhones could finally start offering features that take advantage of big displays

This will likely include some surprising new features, but also some that Android phones have had for a while now. As usual, Apple is lagging behind, but perhaps Cupertino can do it better. For example, widgets and always-on displays arrived on iPhone years after they were introduced on Android, but Apple’s take on the same functionality looks more advanced and elegant

  • According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple is in the process of turning the iPhone into a Smart Display similar to the Google Nest Hub; iOS 17 is now expected to add support for a special always-on display mode in landscape view, which could mimic some Google Nest Hub functions (such as allowing control of smart home devices); suddenly, a larger 6.9-inch iPhone fits Apple’s narrative quite well; while reports don’t mention it, I also expect Apple to introduce a new version of its MagSafe charger that includes a stand, so your iPhone looks like a real Smart Display when it’s not in use (Pixel Tablet much?)

  • Android-like multitasking may finally be coming to the iPhone, too, and while we haven’t heard many rumors about it, the addition of interactive widgets and upcoming Smart Display support may be a sign that Apple may finally be adding true multitasking to the iPhone. iPhone, allowing you to open and view two (or more) apps at the same time

  • It’s also very likely that the iPhone 16 Ultra will have the solid-state buttons we expected to see on the iPhone 15 Pro; those also require more space than traditional buttons, which could explain the increase in size

  • We’ve heard rumors about the roughly 1-inch main camera sensor coming to iPhone, which would also take up more space; of course, cameras are at the heart of all smartphones to this day, and Apple is no different, in fact the periscope zoom camera coming to the iPhone 15 Pro max is seemingly impossible to fit into the 6.1-inch iPhone 15 Pro, why the latter will be missing on this technology; iPhone 16 Pro should add the periscope lens but also a larger 6.3-inch display

  • That’s a wild card at this point, but it’s also possible that the larger iPhone Ultra could finally bring a major redesign to the iPhone lineup, which has remained largely unchanged for a long time now; if you ask me, bigger iPhones require more curves: I find the boxy iPhone 14 Pro Max rather awkward to use; so maybe we were expecting a throwback of the iPhone XS?

~7-inch iPhone 16 Ultra means we may never see a foldable iPhone; Could Apple’s AR/VR headset make big iPhones obsolete?

In the end, I’ll keep it simple by giving you food for thought in the form of bullet points (why not)…

  • The iPhone 16 Ultra may be outrageously large, but people with 6.7-inch iPhones are unlikely to be shocked by a 6.9-inch phone, while the new tiny 6.3-inch iPhone 16 Pro is actually a great idea for those who don’t want to go (very ) big; in other words; it’s safe to assume that not much will change — people will likely continue to buy larger iPhones

  • With a 6.9-inch iPhone 16 Ultra arriving in 2024, where does Apple go next? A 7-inch iPhone, a 7.5-inch iPhone? Of course, another “logical” step would be a foldable iPhone, but think about it: if Apple’s massive 7-inch iPhone doesn’t (and it won’t) fold, then will we ever have a foldable iPhone? Maybe this is Apple’s way of telling us to “forget about it”…

  • And this is my favorite peek into the future, but if Apple believes in AR/VR, isn’t the headset expected to debut at this year’s WWDC (June 5) eventually make large display phones obsolete? I recently got acquainted with a pair of AR glasses called the NReal Air, which not only let you see a massive version of your iPhone’s display in AR, but also let you use a full-blown three-monitor setup on your MacBook ; why would i want a 7 inch iphone when i can have a 200 inch screen in front of me?

One thing is certain, Apple’s AR/VR headset won’t cost $400 (that’s the price of the NReal Air glasses), so bigger iPhones may be the only affordable way to get the bigger iPhone display for a while. Let’s just hope the 6.9-inch iPhone 16 Ultra makes proper use of the larger display. Android, Apple.

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