Apple is going big with a 4.6-inch display in its next iPhone, according to a new report, but odds are it’s a bogus story.
Reuters reported the news based on a report in South Korea’s Maeli Business Newspaper, which cited an unnamed industry source. According to the story, Apple will release the larger iPhone with a 4.6-inch “Retina” display in the second quarter of this year.
First of all, the supposed release timing seems fishy. Apple is unlikely to release a new iPhone less than a year after the iPhone 4S, which launched last October. The iPhone 4S also has been selling extremely well, so there’s little need for Apple to rush a new phone to market.
The reported 4.6-inch display also seems unlikely. Easy one-handed operation has always been a big part of the iPhone’s design, and that’s just not possible with such a large display. A 4-inch iPhone 5 seems more likely, but even that is not a given. The rumor mill has been talking about different iPhone sizes for years, including mini iPhones, but so far Apple has never deviated from a 3.5-inch display.
Reuters also gets one detail of its story wrong: The report notes that Samsung, which is Apple’s biggest rival in smartphones, used a 4.6-inch OLED display in its flagship Galaxy S II last year. The Galaxy S II’s screen was actually 4.3 inches for international and AT&T models, and 4.5 inches for Sprint and T-Mobile variants. Samsung did use a 4.65-inch display for its Galaxy Nexus.
My best guess is that Apple has ordered prototypes of a larger iPhone, just as it has reportedly done with a 7-inch iPad. Coming to market is another story, and I don’t see what’s in it for Apple to release an iPhone with a massive display. A smaller screen has greater mass appeal, which is what the iPhone has always been about.