With the new iPad now on sale, it’s time for the rumour mill to start grinding up some stories about the next iPhone, and today we have the return of an old favourite.
According to an ‘unnamed industry source’ in South Korea quoted by Reuters, Apple has already begun ordering screens for the new iPhone, but instead of the same old 3.5-inch panels, it’s stocking up on 4.6-inch screens.
Prior to the release of the iPhone 4S last year, the rumoured iPhone 5 was expected to have a larger screen, and was linked to a 4-inch Toshiba display with a 720p resolution. Of course, this didn’t pan out, but that’s no reason to think it won’t happen this year instead.
However, Apple has maintained that the 3.5-inch screen on the iPhone is the ideal size for single-handed use, so increasing its size by over an inch would be a surprise, as with it will come a considerably larger body too.
Samsung, who supplies screens to Apple, already uses a 4.65-inch screen with 720p resolution on the Galaxy Nexus, but the pixel-per-inch rating is only 316, which crucially falls below the iPhone 4S’s 326ppi. Why is this important? It’s because this is the figure Apple uses to define its Retina Display standard.
Therefore, the resolution would have to be higher than 720p on a screen this size for it to improve on the iPhone 4S’s Retina Display. While this could happen, 720p can also provide a slightly higher PPI rating when the screen is smaller than 4.6-inch though, as the 4.3-inch screen fitted to the HTC Rezound proves with 342ppi.
Using this basic information, the larger the screen size rumoured, the less credible it sounds. But we also wouldn’t put it past Apple to surprise us with a truly amazing screen on the next iPhone, as it has had plenty of practice developing the iPad 3′s impressive Retina Display.
Going back to the Korean source of this rumour for a moment, a release date somewhere between April and June is also stated, which seems highly unlikely given the iPhone 4S has only been on sale since October last year.
As with all similar rumours, all the above is completely unconfirmed by Apple, and it’s probable we’ve got another six months to go before we find out anything official about the new iPhone.