Reuters: iPhone 5 to have 4-inch screen

Reuters: iPhone 5 to have 4-inch screen

Summary: An increase in screen size from the current 3.5-inch to 4-inch would mean an overall increase in viewing area of roughly 30 percent.

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Apple's iPhone 5 will come equipped with a 4-inch screen, according to insiders speaking to Reuters.

This latest rumor comes a day after sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal claimed that Apple's next iPhone would have a screen that measured “at least four inches diagonally”.

An increase in screen size from the current 3.5-inch display to 4-inches would mean an overall increase in viewing area of roughly 30 percent.

Both Reuters and the Wall Street Journal's sources agree that screen production will occur at three suppliers. These suppliers are named as LG Display, Sharp --- the company that was allegedly going to manufacture thinner IGZO screens for the iPad 3 --- and Japan Display, a company created in April formed as a joint venture between Sony, Toshiba, Hitachi and the Japanese government.

Reuters also reports that production of the new screens will begin in June, which would be consistent with a new iPhone launch in September or October.

Neither sources outline what effect the increase in screen size will have on device size, screen resolution, aspect ratio or pixel density.

The iPhone 4/4S currently has a 3.5-inch screen with a 960 x 640 screen resolution. This works out at 326 pixels per inch, a density that Apple says is so high that the eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels. Increasing the screen size to 4-inch would drop that pixel density down to around 289 pixels per inch.

There are two ways that Apple could increase the size of the screen while maintaining a high pixel density count. First, it could bump the screen resolution up. Doubling the screen resolution to 1920×1280 would be the one option. It’s what Apple did when it went up to Retina display on both the iPhone and iPad. But it’s highly unlikely that Apple could pull this sort of density off for the next incarnation of the iPhone. Such a screen would have a pixel density in the region of 500 pixels per inch, which would be incredibly dense.

A screen of this sort is likely to be expensive and difficult to produce. It would also increase the overall width of the iPhone.

Another option is that Apple could change the screen aspect ratio. The current iPhone has a 3:2 aspect ratio, but increasing this to 16:9 -- the aspect ratio used for widescreen TV and movies -- could allow for a 4-inch screen to maintain a pixel density close to that of the current screen, while also allowing the screen to fit into a handset no bigger than the current iPhone.

This is the latest in a long line of iPhone 5-related screen rumors.

It has been rumored that Apple will to move to a solution called in-cell technology with the iPhone 5 where both the screen and touch sensor layers combined into a single layer, as opposed to the current setup where these are two layers. The new in-cell panels are expected to be both cheaper to produce and thinner than the current panels.

There have also been rumors that the next iPhone will feature haptic touch-feedback technology built directly into the screen that would allow the user to feel on-screen elements such as buttons.

Reuters has quite a good track record when it comes to Apple rumors, having correctly reported that the iPad 2 would have two cameras, and that the iPad 3 would offer 4G LTE support.

Image source: Apple.

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Topics: Smartphones, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility

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9 comments
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  • WSJ and Reuters were wrong many times, and the media is writing about ...

    ... bigger screens for more than two years already -- never happened.

    But Apple could indeed increase the screen to 4" size, and even without changing dimensions of the phone itself: 16:9 aspect ratio, 1138 x 640, though "start" button would have to be squeezed. Additional vertical space could be reserved for video and photo viewing, reading, web browsing, status information, task switcher, [b]widgets[/b] (probably to be introduced in iOS 6).
    DDERSSS
    • Unfortunately the iPad3 4G support is not true

      This is the reason why Apple stopped carrying that label on its international versions. Its a gimmick!
      Uralbas
  • I would be very surprised

    if this actually happened. There are simply too many ergonomic advantages to the iPhone's current dimensions.
    baggins_z
  • Wrong!

    An increase from 3.5 to 4 inches would be an increase of 14.2% not 30%, the math here is really simple

    percent increase = .5/3.5 = 1/7 =.142857 or about 14%.
    Doctor Demento
    • You are wrong.

      He said increase in AREA, not size. LxW=Area

      Redo your math.
      thejeep
  • I5 phone

    The larger sreen displays have been in effect/used in Korea for more than a year.
    kenyng@...
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  • Can't be 16:9

    all ios apps were designed for the original form factor. Changing this form factor only makes movies look good. All other apps would need to be re-written to take advantage of the wide screen format. This means if this were true current apps and games would be squashed or have a black border on the sides like how old 4:3 content looks on HDTVs. It's not going to to work. knowinf apple they put this into concept first. The user experience is #1 priority. They will not take it lightly. Android is 16:9, well it's because android was designed for 16:9 pretty much from the start. Apps are made for 16:9, thus look good on it. Iphone will have larger screen. It will retain the same aspect ratio.
    Bakabaka
    • Agree totally - Apple would not fragment their devices this way.

      Completely agree. The current apps on the iphone are designed for 320x480 (double that with retina display). If the resolution ratio changes, I wonder how existing apps would work - would they be centered with blank space on top and bottom, or would iOS itself would utilize that space with some sort of a task bar? Stretching existing apps just vertically might look pretty weird for most apps.
      Adi
      LightArrow Inc - maker of LifeTopix productivity app for personal organization.
      Adi_Mishra@...