Apple may bring multiple mobile device sizes. Hints through iOS 6 SDK!

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No one gave it any sort of importance and were behind covering the more celeb-like iOS 6 features when it was announced a week ago, until TechCrunch posted a while ago.

Yes, Apple mentioned something on a large-screen at WWDC Keynote with a smallest possible font but, this can lead to more unbelievable imaginations yet! As you can see in an image showing some of the highlights of iOS 6 SDK – there is a feature included for developers called ‘Auto Layout’.

The same was demonstrated later in WWDC, on how some of the apps are wasting the screen’s real-estate by not using the space available.

Auto Layout in iOS 6 SDK

Now, what does Auto Layout mean?

Auto Layout will give developers an ability to code their apps, in such a way that – the same app is viewable without unnecessary stretching or spoiling the aesthetics. Unlike, which may happen with hard-coded apps.

This is available on OS X Lion since last WWDC in 2011 and a nice detailed post about Cocoa Auto Layout on Gentle Bytes . It’s perfectly applicable for various Mac Book Pro sizes for instance. Apple’s OS X Developers Library too has a reference here.

Well, lets put this in other words.

Android is using this technique since long time – and that’s the reason making Android devices with plenty of different sizes was possible. And recent Android Design Guideline will make it further better.

For example: If an Android app is coded using similar technique & lets assume its locked for portrait mode – the same app will stretch-to-fit in portable mode on large-screen Android tablets. That too without spoiling the UI (of course, if coded well)

iPad on other side – stretches to pixel-double the apps made for iPhone.

What this means for Developers?

It means, comparatively simple task for converting existing apps to fit various screen-sizes.

What does this mean for rest of the users?

It can mean a lot. Not only a large-screen iPhone 5 or a small-screen iPad Mini but something more.

iMore has reported about a possible (approx.) 7” iPad Mini to be launched in October 2012 priced at about $200, alongside iPhone 5. But, I wouldn’t limit this to just an iPad Mini or an iPhone 5.

What can we imagine?

If iMore sources are to be believed – iPad Mini – to me – would be just another smaller device to complete in the market segment of 7” inch tablets like Kindle, Nook or Samsung Galaxy Tabs and these tablets will have a tough time ahead considering iPad’s popularity.

I would really like to see a wider-aspect on devices. Undoubtedly, the 4:3 aspect of existing iPad is more handy. But, I am sure more people are looking for wide-screens because that’s what is happening everywhere including TVs or Laptops.

New iPad sizes & Aspect Ratio

I just made a quick mock-up here. Would you not like to have iPad with wider-aspect roughly 5:3 (or approx 16:9) instead of 4:3? I do.

The same applies to the iPhone 5 – a bigger device with a screen-size of 4 inches but no change in its width – at least that’s what rumors are saying.

I am not a Apple app developer & won’t be able to say how BIG this could really be. But, having Auto Layout features in iOS 6 certainly opens up lot many gates for imagination. May be, Apple is thinking on bringing devices with multiple sizes like -wider iPad, smaller iPad, bigger iPhone 5. 

We (Apple fanboys) can’t say anything more than just a guess…. We will have to wait.
What’s your guess?

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Tushar Tajane

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