Rumor claims iPhone 5 will get bigger screen than predecessors

Mar 22, 2012
Tech

Well, the new iPad has been out for a whole six days, so that must mean it’s time to start speculating on Apple’s next device. Today’s rumor concerns the next iPhone, which we’ll call the iPhone 5 for simplicity’s sake (let’s hope it’s not just called “iPhone” or “new iPhone,” because that gets confusing, Apple), […]

Well, the new iPad has been out for a whole six days, so that must mean it’s time to start speculating on Apple’s next device.

Today’s rumor concerns the next iPhone, which we’ll call the iPhone 5 for simplicity’s sake (let’s hope it’s not just called “iPhone” or “new iPhone,” because that gets confusing, Apple), focuses on the iPhone’s display. No, it won’t be getting a huge boost in quality like the iPad did over the iPad 2 or the previous iPad (see – confusing), but it may well be bigger than its predecessors.

As Apple Insider explains, a new (unverified) rumor suggests the iPhone will include a 4.6-inch display, a significant jump in size from the 3.5-inch display Apple has used since 2007 when it released the first iPhone. Reuters has the report, saying the new phone will be bigger and sport a Retina display, much like the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and new iPad carry.

The Retina bit isn’t really news, given that iPhone users have had access to Retina displays for nearly two years now. A larger one might require more work on manufacturers’ parts to get the right density. Apple defines Retina as sporting a density of 300 pixels per inch when held about 10 inches from the eye, and it could well mean the bigger iPhone would have to sport a bigger battery to power the display. That’s the case with Apple’s new iPad, the Retina display on which basically means the innards are taken up by a really big battery in order for Apple to maintain the 10-hour battery life it uses as standard for its mobile devices.

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Multiple analysts have told The Wall Street Journal to expect the next iPhone to sport a 4G LTE cellular radio, and common sense backs up that analysis. If the iPad has it, it seems like a foregone conclusion that the iPhone will, as well. So a bigger display sounds like it could be possible, since LTE data speeds are substantially faster than those of its 3G counterpart.

Cellular carriers want users to suck up data watching video, which is basically what the connection is useful for on the iPad; throwing a bigger display on the iPhone may well encourage more video viewing on it, as well, which would be good for cellular companies as well as Apple’s ability to sell content. Not to mention that Samsung has rival devices in similar size factors.

More dubious in the Reuters report is a second-quarter release estimation, which probably won’t happen. Reports are already pegging September or October for the next iPhone, and it seems really unlikely that the device would come any earlier than late summer. That still could technically be Q2 2012, but it’s pushing it.

For what it’s worth, 4G LTE seems like a given for the next iPhone, and it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Apple change up the design of the device after releasing the iPhone 4S, which is aesthetically identical to its predecessor. It seems possible that that could mean a jump to a much larger screen, but somehow, that doesn’t seem too likely – at least, not right now.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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