I had a conversation with a friend about the iPhone 4S and what he thought should have changed. “New form factor! Bigger screen!”, went the familiar arguments. Later I read a great article by John Gruber which provides some possible answers to why Apple made the decisions it did about the iPhone 4S.
About screen size:
One big advantage of a 3.5-inch display: with average-size hands, your thumb can reach any pixel on screen more comfortably while holding the phone one-handed. Judging from my email, many proponents of bigger screens — those who are disappointed that the iPhone 4S doesn’t sport a 4-inch display — see no such trade-off. Bigger is better, period, they say, and anyone who says otherwise is in denial that Apple is falling behind its competition. But by that logic, 5-inch screens would be better than 4-inch ones, and 6-inch screens better still. That’s silly. Bigger is not necessarily better for handheld/pocket devices.
He also makes the point that those who say iPhone should have a bigger screen are essentially saying that the iPhone should be more like Android, but “in truth, the iOS and Android platforms are growing more different over time, not less.”
About the form factor:
Apple isn’t going to make a new form factor just for the sake of newness itself — they make changes only if the changes make things decidedly better. Thinner, stronger, smaller, more efficient. If they don’t have a new design that brings about such adjectives, they’re going to stick with what they have.
Apple pursues timeless style, not fleeting trendiness. This iPhone design might be like that of the Porsche 911 — a distinctive, iconic, timeless, instantly-recognizable representation of the product’s brand itself.
The iPhone 4 isn’t one of the best-selling devices in the U.S. for nothing.
All those people who are disappointed simply allowed themselves to be hyped up by erroneous reports from misguided analysts. It’s clearly obvious that before official announcements about an Apple product is made, every single prediction should always be taken with a grain—or an entire shaker—of salt.