During today's Q1 2013 conference call, Apple's CEO Tim Cook was asked about larger screened iPhones. There were two separate questions, one about price and screen size variants and how they might effect Apple's business outside the US, and the the other concerning how competitors use screen size to differentiate from Apple, and whether there are dynamics or long term cases for a bigger screened iPhone.
Cook, not surprisingly, stuck to Apple's talking points. He said Apple had already introduced the larger, 4-inch iPhone 5, and that it had the most advanced display in the industry (perhaps referring to its in-cell technology), and that no one else comes close in terms of quality. He also said that the way Apple went to 4-inches, which involved increasing the height but not the width, changing the previous 3:2 aspect ration to 16:9, preserved the iPhone's one-handed ease of use. Cook said that Apple put a lot of thought into the iPhone's screen size, and he believes they picked the right one.
These questions likely arose due to rumors of a larger screened iPhone being in Apple's pipeline for 2013 or 2014. Earlier this week, I outlined several ways Apple could go to 5-inch display size if they ever felt it was a market segment worth addressing.
However, given they sold 47.8 million iPhones at 3.5- to 4-inches this quarter, including almost 2x as many on Verizon as all other smartphones combined, even large screened Android phones, Apple may believe customers either prefer smaller phones, or prefer iPhones so much they'll put up with a smaller screen to get it. If it's the former one, a larger screen might not be coming for a while. If it's the latter, a larger screen may not come until Apple believes hey can sell tens if not hundreds of millions of additional units by adding the larger screen size.
So, don't quote "Tim Cook said" to rule out future, larger iPhones (because, iPad mini), but do consider it as a statement of what Apple's doing now, and what they want competitors and customers alike to focus on Apple doing now.