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Quality & availability of iOS apps will not be affected by screen size changes, say Apple developers

Amidst rumours of a larger iPhone and a smaller iPad, developers seem fairly unfazed by possible Apple device screen-size changes.

At last week's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in California, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster polled 100 developers, asking them how difficult it would be to adjust applications for two new screen sizes.

On a scale of one to 10, developers, on average, said the difficulty would be a 3.4 out of 10, suggesting no major issues in adapting apps for a potential 4in iPhone screen or a smaller "iPad mini."

"Given the relative ease expected by developers for utilising potential new iOS screen sizes, we believe the introduction of new screen sizes would not affect the success or availability of the apps on iOS," Munster wrote in a note to investors.

According to the analyst's research, more than half of the WWDC developers build apps for iOS and Android, a number that has grown from last year's 47 per cent.

Of the 55 developers who work with both platforms, however, "iOS was the clear favorite in two categories: ease of development and future revenue growth," Munster wrote. "We believe that Apple's loyal developer base will continue to develop cutting edge apps for iOS that will draw in new customers, helping to fuel continued growth in iOS device sales."

About 14 per cent of iOS developers also work with Windows Phones, up 1 per cent from last year, and 9 per cent create BlackBerry apps, a steep decline from 36 per cent in 2011.

"The importance of a strong developer base is crucial to the success of a mobile operating system and therefore the success of a phone or tablet as well," Munster wrote.

Current iPhones have a 3.5in screen and a 3-to-2 aspect ratio, while the next-generation device is expected to have a 16-to-9 ratio on a 4in screen. A possible smaller iPad could have a 7.85-inch display, with a reputed 1,024 x 768-pixel display, still allowing first and second generation iPad apps to run natively on the smaller screen.

Apple is also heavily rumoured to be launching a 13in model of its highly coveted MacBook Pro with Retina this autumn.