Apple going to 4-inch display for iPhone 5?

iPhone 4 Retina Display

Just when I was beginning to wonder where Digitimes was with their crazy iPhone 5 rumor they show up with a doozy, claiming iPhone 5 is going with a 5-inch screen to better compete with the slew of large size Android devices from the likes of Motorola and Samsung.

The component suppliers noted that the production lines for Apple's next generation iPhone have begun testing, and Apple is interesting in expanding the screen size to 4-inches to support the tablet PC market as the vendor only has a 9.7-inch iPad in the market.

This according to "upstream component suppliers" (whom we'd dearly love to put into a steel cage match against "people familiar with the situation"). But hey, a 4-inch iPhone 5 would leave 3.5-inches wide open as the new "nano" size, now wouldn't it? (And it would mesh with those "complete redesign" rumors from Engadget last month.)

When we asked you back in September what iPhone screen size you preferred, almost 30% of you wanted 4-inches, second only to the almost 35% who wanted to keep it the same. If Apple does go to 4-inches, the Retina Display would lose some density (Apple is not about to change pixel count) so is that something Jobs and co. would really consider doing? Is it something you want to do?

And what's with all the crazy rumors this week anyway? Oh, that's right...

[Digitimes, thanks Anthony!]

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple going to 4-inch display for iPhone 5?


I'd be happy with a 4 inch retina display, that would be awesome, I mean 3.5 isn't bad a all but with the extra .5 theyd be able to put more on the screen and have more space.

Agreed. There's no way I'm Cupertino the change will be that quick if they were just informed.

or how about they just minimize the home button and raise the speakers and front facing camera a little so that the phone doesnt change size. mazimize the screen size only. tell me if this is a pipedream or not

Agree I think this would be perfect size to combat the newer android phones coming with 4 or 4.3 inch screens. 4 inch is perfect no need for any larger than that

I think I would cry out of joy. I am a pretty big dude, thus having big hands, so this would be great. I love my iPhone, but more often then not, I find the screen to small. More so when i am playing games (RPGs).

although I like the idea of a 4 inch iPhone, honestly I think it's too late, factoring in their hundreds of thousands of apps built on 3.5 inches. Also, I don't believe that Apple would lower the ppi, it's a huge selling point and a great feature. I think that iPhone nano (at least in a physically smaller size less than 3.5 in) and a bigger iPhone just won't happen. I really really wish that the first iPhone had had a 4 in screen! Then we wouldn't be in this mess! But we'll see, can't wait to se what comes next from Apple, I know I'll buy it ;)

i am on all the smartphone expert sites here and i think the apple people know what they are talking about the least by far... u think the apps are written for a 3.5 inch screen!???!! woooooow... they are written for a specific resolution, not a screen size. i doesn't matter what the screen size is as long its in the proper rez. there is a reason they quadrupedaled the rez from 480x320 to 960x640... i will leave it to u to figure that out for yourself... i wish apple numbskulls would just not talk when they think they know what they are talking about

I care way more about screen size then resolution. Givre me a 4.3" evo screen. Who gives a crap about a "retina display" if the display is small?

I'd rather have the retina display then have the evo screen. That thing sucks, the 3.5 amazing, I don't really see a difference from 3.5 and 4 because i have used my friends fascinate, the only thing i could tell was even if the words were bigger they were still super blurry on the fasinate while on the iphone the words were flawless.

I meant the same size not resolution. I agree that the evo's screen isn't the sharpest, but I don't think it's bad either. I love how when I play with my friend's evo, I don't have to constantly pan around when I use the browser. I like being able to see more of my timeline. Movies and video look so much better on the bigger screen. High resolution is good to have, but it isn't the full picture. (see what I did there?)

I'm kinda "eh" on the 4" screen, I've held phones like the Samsung Fascinate and it feels too big in the hand and in the pocket. While 4" should be the maximum screen size as anything bigger just feels tremendous and looks ridiculous when you're talking on it. The current size of the iPhone feels right in the hand and in the pocket anything bigger would feel like too much.

They could keep the same size of the iphone just decrease the bezel size to accommodate the 4 inch screen

This is to much , I am sure they have many prototypes in the labs that dose not mean anything just like there is a 7inch iPad in the labs does not mean it is coming out even I would love on and iPhone with slide out keyboard and 4inch screen. But I don't expect it to happen.

I can see a nano with a retina display using the 3GS resolution... Tiny but without resolution change. It would make sense to have the iPhone5 native HD by expanding it in the vertical direction, perhaps modifying the home button and earpiece locations.... But then there would be the resolution issue.

Maybe the extension could be a customizable software home/input area that would function as a game input area while allowing for proper movie display etc...

I like the size of the iphone4-i also own the Samsung Captivate,which has a 4 inch screen and its not bulky in my pocket and it doesn't feel like a large phone,like the evo 4g.

Apple could just make the home button digital instead of moving it all together. Like the keys it could be hidden away for full screen movies and games.

In the end, all we will see will be an updated iPhone with new design/antenna, probably a better camera, dual core processor/GPU and a 49$ iPhone 4.

I have no opinions - I am getting an iPhone 5 when my contract is up, and I do like the size of my droid x, but 3.5" is fine. I will believe it when I see it, personally I'm just hoping for the mobile me rumors to be true...

I have an ipod touch with a 3.5 inch screen and a Droid X with 4.3 inch screen. Given a choice a 4 inch in between might be perfect. I highly doubt this will come true though.

I own an EVO.. and I love the screen size.. but as far as pure sexiness .. The Captivate is the best looking phone on the market and it has a 4" screen.. i'ts the perfect medium
so Apple would be smart to follow the lead of Samsung in that dept.

4" is perfect, I have owned at one point most of the high end androids so I can say that by far my preferred screen size is 4" as it is a good balance because when you go from iPhone to evo and back it is a big difference as if the iPhone was way tiny

I would wet myself with excitement!!! Screen size is the only problem that l have with my iPhone 4. Just give me 4 inches and I'm in heaven! I'm 6'2. I have big hands!!

If they change the size, I will not buy it. Ever. All this crap rumored to be "coming" to the iPhone.... (larger screen, keyboard)... Just more ways to ruin something already too awesome to believe... I hope that they never add these ridiculous features to the iPhone. Say what you will, it's mostly personal preference.

The 4' mockup is really nice. I didn't see a need to upgrade to iPhone 4 but would if had bigger screen.

If Apple is to evolve, it is time for two models -- one smaller, say 3 in. "nano" model keeping the old iphone resolution and one larger, say 4 in. model with the "retina" resolution.
The benefits: model family grows, phones fit different sized hands, different eyesights, different pockets, etc., the smaller model gets more of a retina-ish display.
Me? I hope for a 4.3+ in. model.

I would love a 4 inch screen. A 3.5 screen is small to interact with for such a powerful device. I hope this is true.

This is what I have been waiting for! At least people are talking about it. A 4 inch screen would be perfect on this phone. Don't know if it is going to happen though? Owned every iPhone & have been looking at other phones lately because of bigger screens. Come on Mr. Jobs give the people what they want!

I've been telling people for months that I really don't need a larger screen. So if the next iPhone comes out and it has a larger screen with retina, well I guess I have no choice but to go with it right.

Right now I have an Iphone 4 and an Evo. I like both but the smaller screen is a little too small. I think MOST of the people that don't want a bigger screen has never tried one. They could make a 4 inch screen and keep the IP4 the same size. I find the browser on the Evo much better then the IP4, what people don't mention is on the IP4 you also loose about 1/4 of an inch on the browser with the bottom bar that wont go away. I bought the IP4 this last week and like it, however with hopes that the IP5 has a bigger screen. I would upgrade to it when I added the rest of the family on other lines. If it does not I may look at going back to another bigger screen android. I think people that say they would not buy an Iphone with a bigger screen are being a little small minded. CHOICE is good.

If the screen wars continue, someday we'll all be talking on smartphones the size of Galaxy Tabs. Please, phone industry, make high quality screens - not just bigss ones. Oh wait - Apple got this right! That's why this is being typed on an iPhone 4. Don't fck it up, Cupertino.

4" or larger screen is a must. Face it, its not really a phone. I know it can make phone calls, but I make or receive about 4 calls a day on the device versus 30-40 emails,15-20 texts, look at hundreds of web pages, track my stocks, manage my linux servers via ssh, look at maps, take pictures, look at pictures, watch videos, listen to music and read books. Most of the stuff I actually do with the phone would be seriously enhanced by a larger screen.

Is the extra 0.5 inches worth all of these comments, surely there are more interesting things we want from an iPhone 5? How about a built in FM transmitter? Come on people -use your grey stuff.....

I can't believe you wasted the grey matter in your brain to come up with something as asinine as an "FM transmitter", which is completely unnecessary and superfluous, being that we already have access to Pandora as well as the native iPod app as far as music is concerned. A larger screen is a significant upgrade in the physical form factor of the iPhone that would set it apart from previous iterations finally propelling it to compete with popular advancing smartphones around the world. Please don't spew forth inane comments as if they're philosopher's dialect.

wonder when the iphone 5 is coming out. i mean i just got the iphone 4 for verizon which is awesome. but id upgrade to iphone 5 without a doubt

Get rid of the home button, I've heard these rummers, therefore a bigger screen would fit = same size phone.

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