With the evidence mounting that Apple's next-gen iPhone (or perhaps iPhones) will sport a larger screen, a recent survey conducted by RBC Capital Markets found that most consumers would prefer an iPhone with better battery life than with a larger screen.
In a survey sent out to 4,000 consumers, 33% of respondents indicated that better battery life would convince them to purchase the iPhone 6. Meanwhile, 23% of respondents indicated that they'd be swayed by a larger screen.
Though Apple long remained beholden to a 3.5-inch screen, the company slightly increased the iPhone screen size with the introduction of the iPhone 5. Looking ahead, it's largely believed that Apple this Fall will release iPhone models with 4.7 and 5.5 inch displays. If this is in fact the case, it goes without saying that the larger displays will exert a greater strain on the battery. Still, it's a safe bet that Apple wouldn't release new iPhone models with decreased battery life.
In a number of interviews over the last two years, Apple CEO Tim Cook has stressed that Apple is in no way fundamentally opposed to the idea of an iPhone with a larger screen. The sticking point, Cook often emphasized, was that larger screens often come with usability trade-offs that Apple simply isn't willing to compromise on.
During the 2013 All Things D conference, for example, Cook was asked about the possibility of Apple developing a larger screened iPhone.
A large screen today comes with a lot of trade-offs. Customers clearly are looking at size, but they are also looking at things like, do the photos show the proper color, the white balance, reflectivity, battery life, brightness, the longevity of the display. So there are a whole bunch of things that are very important to the display. So what our customers want is for us to weigh those and come out with a decision. And at this point, we felt that the Retina display that we're shipping is overwhelmingly the best.
It's therefore safe to assume that if Apple releases a larger screened iPhone, it will come without any of the aforementioned trade-offs. And with respect to battery life, Apple, more than most, has shown an ongoing commitment to improving, and at the very least maintaining, battery life on its products. When the iPad went Retina, for example, battery life didn't take a discernible hit. The iPad Air, as another example, has battery life that is far and away best in class.
It's also worth noting that iOS 8 will provide users with more detailed information regarding battery usage on an app by app basis.