LG announced it has begun production on a 5-inch 1080p display for smartphones, putting more pressure on Apple to impress with its next-generation iPhone.
The South Korean company's new display sports 440 pixels per inch, out doing the iPhone 4S's 326. The screen also features new technology for better color accuracy and a unique transmission of light that will allow for the battery life of the handset to remain unaffected.
"As smartphones become increasingly valued for how well they do multimedia and with the rapid growth of LTE enabling faster large file transfers, our new 5-inch full HD LC panel is certain to prove a significant asset to the mobile market," said executive vice president of LG Display Sang-Deok Yeo.
When Apple unveiled the iPhone 4's Retina display in 2010, former CEO Steve Jobs said that it would take competitors some time to catch up. Jobs' statement held true until recently, but now displays on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus and HTC's One X are both larger than the iPhone's 3.5-inch screen and greatly rival its image quality.
LG's new 5-inch display will outdo the iPhone's screen by an even larger margin, threatening to turn one of the Apple handset's greatest strengths into a weakness in comparison with newer devices on the market.
Apple has managed to keep a leg up on its Android competitors with its App Store and the iOS platform, of late, but it has been out-performed in the display area of devices. Smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S3 continue to push the envelope of how large a handsets screen should be, and its 4.8-inch display is already selling well in Europe, something analysts expect to continue when it launches in the U.S. next month.
As users' consumption of media on smartphones continues to increase, Apple is banking instead on its software more than ever to be a difference maker. Despite its retina technology, the 4-inch display of a next-generation iPhone will clearly appear inferior on store shelves sitting next to a larger device like the S3.
It remains to be seen if consumers will gravitate towards larger-screen devices. More customers watch videos and other media on their phones, making larger screen real estate a bonus, but the form factor must still balance portability and convenience.
Apple is likely set against making a display larger than 4-inches because it fears it will lose out on customers who don't want to carry around a big device. But if the company's software and the other hardware in the next iPhone aren't good enough to make up the difference, it will risk losing out on the people who do.