updated 11:35 pm EDT, Wed March 21, 2012
Claim has Apple breaking iPhone screen size mould
A contentious rumor late Wednesday had Apple leaping to a 4.6-inch screen for the next iPhone. The Maeil Business Newspaper had Apple making its first part orders ahead of spring plans, dropping the familiar 3.5-inch size for the first time in five years in favor of a size comparable to the Galaxy Nexus. Unlike Samsung, though, Apple would keep its shorter but wider ratio, and would keep using an LCD instead of AMOLED.
The larger panel would hike the price, although DisplaySearch data had the difference being about $3 US.
Such a rumor is very much unconfirmed and has historical reasons to suggest it might be false or misinterpreted. A plethora of "iPhone 5" cases had shown up with roughly a four-inch screen in mind, even just weeks before the iPhone 4S appeared. As Chinese case makers are known to pay off staff at Foxconn to leak legitimate Apple designs, they may reflect plans Apple had for a larger screen before backing off.
Other rumors, which themselves would be corroborated by all the larger cases, have raised the possibility that the late Steve Jobs objected to a larger screen size as splintering the iPhone platform. Even if it kept the same resolution, it would change the required sizes for interface elements.
Ergonomics has been cited as a problem: phones like the Galaxy Nexus are big enough that it's often difficult or impossible to reach all parts of the screen in one-handed use. A different ratio might compensate for this, although it could make the phone too wide and create the same problems faced by the five-inch LG Optimus Vu.
Whether any truth exists to the claim, pressure has mounted for Apple to up the screen size. It would both reflect the realities of the smartphone market's preference for larger screens as well as the shifting role of smartphones. Where calls were still important in 2007, many smartphone users are more focused on the web, text, and apps than voice.