Reuters: iPhone 5 to have 4-inch screen

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.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

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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