updated 08:20 am EDT, Wed May 16, 2012
WSJ tips larger 4-inch display for new iPhone
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple has placed orders for iPhone displays measuring 'at least 4-inches diagonally' for its sixth generation iPhone expected in October. Citing 'people familiar with the situation' production on the new displays is set to begin next month. Apple is said to be working with LG, Sharp and Japan Display (a newly formed partnership between Sony, Hitachi and Toshiba) on the new screens, which can be expected to be Retina Display-class.
Apple has staunchly kept with a 3.5-inch display since its inception in 2007, when its display was considered large by comparison with smartphones at the time - the original T-Mobile G1 centred on just a 3.2-inch display. Supporters of the current screen size argue that it is easily navigable by thumb with one hand, whereas some of the larger Android phones require a user to hold the phone with one hand and navigate the UI with the other. They also argue that it is more pocketable, while its record sales figures suggest that screen size is not necessarily a major factor for many buyers when buying an iPhone.
However, efforts by Android manufacturers to differentiate their devices from Apple's, in order to attract consumer interest have often focused on screen size in recent times. In particular, as Samsung and HTC increased the size and resolution of their smartphones, sales appeared to increase correspondingly. The HTC One X is now pushing 4.7-inches and the new Samsung Galaxy S III dwarfs the 4.3-inch display of its S II predecessor at 4.8-inches. Samsung has also sold in excess of two million of its Galaxy Note 'phablet', which centers on an enormous 5.3-inche display for a device that can still be used as a phone.
A larger display had been rumored for what turned out to be the Apple iPhone 4S; however, with the design essentials carrying over from the iPhone 4 a larger display was not then in the offing. With an all-new model expected later this year, a complete redesign is in the cards, as is the opportunity for Apple to move up to larger display. While a larger display could be accommodated in a similar form factor to the current iPhone, Apple's rumored inclusion of 4G LTE in the next iPhone may result in a larger device where a larger screen would be a natural fit.