Does iOS 6's Auto Layout hint that bigger iPhone will launch?

According to a new report, the addition of an Auto Layout feature in iOS 6 could be a smoking gun, indicating Apple will launch a new iPhone with a larger screen.

Some of the features coming to iOS 6.
Some of the features coming to iOS 6. James Martin/CNET

Apple's iOS 6 software development kit comes with a new Auto Layout feature. And now, some are wondering whether that indicates Apple will be launching a new iPhone this year with a larger screen.

Auto Layout essentially allows developers to establish parameters for how user interface elements show up on a screen. Depending on a device's resolution, those elements will move to their correct place, based on the parameters established by the developer.

TechCrunch yesterday asked whether that feature indicates an iPhone with a larger display will launch soon. The blog said that it spoke with one developer who said that Auto Layout is a necessity before Apple can launch devices with different resolutions. The idea is that if Apple launches the long-rumored iPhone 5 with a 4-inch display, its resolution will be different than the iPhone 4S', requiring developers to have Auto Layout in place to keep a consistent experience across devices.

TechCrunch also pointed to tweets developers, Matthew Wilkinson and Dmitry Zakharov, sent out last week, saying that Auto Layout "screams new device sizes [are] coming soon."

But does it? Apple currently offers three iPhones. Two of them -- the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 -- come with the same 960x640 resolution. The iPhone 3GS comes with a 480x320 resolution. It's possible Apple is helping developers more easily handle that. What's more, Auto Layout could be a way for Apple to help improve how iPhone apps are displayed on iPads, though it likely wouldn't be the only solution to make them look better.

Simply put, Apple has a tendency to cover its tracks by way of reasonable doubt. And although it's entirely possible that an iPhone 5 with a 4-inch screen is launching soon, thus requiring Apple to deliver Auto Layout, it might also be a catch-up feature to address current development concerns.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment on the TechCrunch report. We will update this story when we have more information.

 

ARTICLE DISCUSSION

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

Hot on CNET

CNET's giving away a 3D printer

Enter for a chance to win* the MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer and all the supplies you need to get started.