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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