updated 01:09 am EDT, Fri May 18, 2012
Jobs said to have worked on LTE iPhone design
Before his death, Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs allegedly worked on a redesigned, next-generation iPhone that features a larger screen and LTE compatibility, Bloomberg reports. Three sources have confirmed that the company has ordered larger screens for the next iPhone, but did not indicate exactly what size the new device would use. Current rumors have Apple favoring a four-inch (measured diagonally) screen.
Such a screen could even fit into the existing enclosure design by simply making the screen taller, but sources indicate that the next iPhone will offer a different external design. The new design is said to have been worked on since before the current iPhone 4S was introduced last October, just a day before Jobs died. One of the sources said that Jobs played a key role in the redesign.
Modern Android phones can range up to 5.3 inches, though the larger sizes are sometimes criticized for being unwieldy to use with one hand. Apple has stuck with a consistent strategy of offering very few model choices, all of which offer a similar customer experience -- and a stock 3.5-inch screen, from the first iPhone to the most recent model.
The iPhone now accounts for 58 percent of Apple's sales all by itself, despite being just less than five years since its debut. Despite taking the vast majority of the profit in the smartphone industry, Apple would certainly like to also take more sales away from its rival Samsung and other Android-based vendors. Screen size has become a selling point on some Android phones, all the way up to "phablets" like the Samsung Galaxy Note that blur the lines between over-sized phone and smaller tablet.
The Wall Street Journal has quoted sources familiar with Apple's plans as saying the new screen would be four inches, only a modest improvement over the existing 3.5-inch screen, but would retain the "Retina Display" quality that has helped keep the iPhone at the top in individual-model sales. Along with the certainty that the next iPhone model will add LTE compatibility as well as the prospect of a major new version of iOS and improvements made to Siri, a redesigned iPhone is likely to continue being a popular choice with consumers.