Toshiba Display Plans Hint at 720p iPhone

Could future iPhones sport 720p displays? If you connect the dots in a news release from Toshiba, possibly.

Toshiba has announced its next generation of mobile displays, which it's showing off at a display trade show in Los Angeles this week. These range from 3.3 inches to 4 inches, with resolutions from Wide VGA (480-by-864) to HD (720-by-1280).

Over at 9to5Mac, Seth Weintraub thinks there's a connection. Toshiba is rumored to be working with Apple on low-temperature poly-silicon LCD panels, a new type of display that allows for thinner devices with lower power consumption. Meanwhile, the rumor mill is buzzing with reports of a 4-inch edge-to-edge display in the fifth-generation iPhone. Put it all together, and you've got a case for an iPhone with a 4-inch display and 720p resolution.

It makes for a good headline (guilty!), but there's one big reason to be skeptical: the aspect ratio of all iPhones to date is 1.5:1, whereas 720p has an aspect ratio of 1.77:1. The difference could be a nightmare for app developers who'd want to accommodate both ratios, and for iOS itself.

Toshiba could produce a higher-resolution display than existing iPhones without changing the aspect ratio, but that wouldn't be as big of a deal as a widescreen iPhone. After all, the iPhone 4's "Retina Display" supposedly passes the point at which humans can discern individual pixels.

Either way, the fact that Toshiba is working on a widescreen mobile display with 720p resolution is great news. I'd be interested in whatever phone uses it.

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