One of the iPhone ‘s biggest strengths has always been its unified ecosystem. Apple produces both the hardware and software for its smartphones and so the two interact almost seamlessly.
As well as this, there are a small number of Apple phones and they all follow the same design principles. What is true for one iPhone is generally true for all others.
Biggest Weaknesses Of The Apple iPhone Over Android
In comparison, this has been one of the biggest weaknesses of the iPhone’s main smartphone rival, Google Android.
- Licensed operating systems for Android Phones : Android is a freely licensed operating systems used by many manufacturers on a variety of handsets, the operating system comes in all shapes and sizes.Some Android phones have large 4 inch screens, while others have much smaller 2 inch screens above a QWERTY keypad.
- Screen resolutions by Android Phones : As well as this, there is a great variety in the screen resolutions used by Android phones. Smaller devices may use relatively low resolutions, but even the bigger devices come in a variety of WVGA, qHD, 720p and soon 1080p resolutions.
Why designing an app or game for Android can be difficult?
These resolutions do not all feature the same aspect ratios due to the different shaped screens being used, so designing an app or game for Android can be difficult if it is to accommodate every possible screen resolution in use.
- To date, the Apple iPhone range has only used two different screen resolutions: the original 320 x 480 resolution and the “Retina” 640 x 960 that was introduced on the iPhone 4. Although they offer a different amount of pixels and picture quality, they both conform to the same aspect ratio.
How Android Market, has always trailed behind in quantity and quality of apps?
Getting an app to work on both resolutions simply involves scaling graphics – something that is easy to achieve and does not result in too much disruption. This may have been one of the many reasons why Apple’s iPhone App Store has blossomed with a huge number of high quality apps and games.
While Android’s Google Play store, formally known as Android Market, has always trailed behind in quantity and quality of apps. Could this all be about to change? Is Apple about to implement a major design twist that will turn away app developers?
Apple iPhone 5 screen resolution
The upcoming iPhone 5 will have a larger 4 inch screen but instead of expanding in width and height simultaneously the phone will add its extra screen space by increasing its height by about 0.45 inches.
Not only will this result in a new resolution of 640 x 1136 but it will also result in a new aspect ratio of 16:9. This will make the iPhone 5 the only iPhone to not feature a 3:2 aspect ratio.
Why Apple is not introducing a larger screen
Apple could have easily introduced a larger screen with the same 3:2 aspect ratio, by increasing the width of the screen as well as the height. But, Apple is adamant that the iPhone ‘s current width is the most perfectly suited for the majority of people to hold a touchscreen phone with one hand.
Perhaps they are right, but for the first time it will become difficult for apps to easily adapt to the new resolution.
Why iOS 6 On iPhone 5 Be A Headache For App Developers?
- Auto Layout Feature : The iPhone 5 ‘s operating system, iOS 6, includes a feature known by the name of “Auto Layout”, which allows the interface to adapt to the new screen proportions. This results in an extra row of app icons being added to iOS, and a more spacious onscreen keyboard being available in landscape mode. Auto Layout is likely to only apply to the iOS interface and standard iOS apps that make use of Apple’s design elements.
- Apps and games graphics : While many apps will use these design elements to some extent, a significant proportion of apps and games on iOS 6.0 use their own custom graphics. Stretching these graphics, which have been designed for a 3:2 screen, to the new 1136 x 640 resolution will result in some very distorted graphics.
- Poor user experience with black bars : The other option is that Apple allows existing apps and games on iOS to run in their original 3:2 dimensions, but with black bars appearing above and beneath (much like watching a widescreen movie on a square television set). Although this is a solution, it is one that ultimately provides a poor user experience.
- Headache for app developers : The only other alternative is that app developers return to their existing apps and games and configure them to work on the new 16:9 aspect ratio. While this may seem rather straight forward it is more of a headache than it seems. In many cases, app graphics will need to be redrawn, and getting those new graphics to display properly will also require the apps to be recode.
- Future apps will need to be designed with two aspect ratios in mind : As well as this, all future apps will need to be designed with two aspect ratios in mind. As app developers have been keen to point out, a significant proportion of app development time is already dedicated to layout and this screen fragmentation is only adding to the burden.
By choosing to increase the iPhone 5 screen in the way that it apparently has done, Apple may be shooting itself in the foot by creating the same sort of fragmentation issues that have plagued its rival Google Android.
Ultimately, this could deter many potential and existing app developers from developing apps for iOS as it is no longer the unified ecosystem it once was.