Thursday, May 17, 2012

No more magnifiers: Apple moving to 4-inch screens for the iPhone 5

We've seen numerous reports for over a year from blogs and smaller sites, stating that Apple would move to a larger screen from the familiar 3.5-inch sized screen the iPhone has had since Day One. While those are perhaps easy to question, a report from the Wall Street Journal is definitely not.

The Journal is reporting that Apple has ordered larger screens, ones that measure at least 4 inches diagonally. Notable in the report were the words "at least." Production, the report went on, is set to begin next month for the screens, which points to the rumors of a return to a summer launch for the next-generation iPhone being incorrect.

Many believe that Apple has no choice but to move to a larger screened iPhone. Most of the upscale smartphones have screens at least 4 inches in size, with some of them even larger, such as the recently introduced Samsung Galaxy S III, which has a 4.8-inch screen. The first GS3s will ship in later this month.

That screen size is a step up from the GS3's predecessor, the Galaxy S II, which has a 4.3-inch screen. Although the Galaxy S series is considered Samsung's flagship line, it has an even larger device already on the market: the Galaxy Note, with a 5.3-inch screen.

Samsung recently surpassed Nokia as top cell phone (not just smartphone) OEM globally, and while it is probably not the case that its ranking is due to the larger screen sizes of many of its devices, it cannot be denied that consumers are starting to demand larger screens.

One thing not mentioned in the WSJ report, however, was any change to the aspect ratio of the iPhone 5. An earlier report, again stating that Apple would increase screen size to 4-inches, noted that to increase the screen size without significantly changing the overall size of the device Apple would need to change the aspect ratio, which could affect application developers.

Naturally, for many the big question is not "how big" but "when." Signals still point to the iPhone 5 being released later in the year, most likely in the September / October timeframe which would put it about a year out from the iPhone 4S.

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