Apple Planning 4-6-Inch iPhone, Again [Rumor]

Apple Planning 4-6-Inch iPhone, Again [Rumor]

Samsung's fun-sized Galaxy Note. Photo Charlie Sorrel (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

If it’s not a smaller iPad, it’s a bigger iPhone, and today’s rumor sees the iPhone approaching the absurd size of Samsung’s phablet, the Galaxy Note. The Korean Maeil Business Newspaper cites unnamed sources who claim that Apple is already placing orders to its suppliers for 4.6-inch retina screens.

Being placed in the same country as two of Apple’s major suppliers — LG and Samsung — makes this rumor at least credibly sourced, but what about that giant screen? Pundits often say that Apple “needs” to put a bigger screen on the iPhone because Android phones are doing it. I see it the other way: Android phones are bigger precisely to differentiate them from the iPhone. It’s one of the “speeds and feeds” that Steve Jobs scoffed at, a bullet point on a spec sheet.

Trouble is, iPhone buyers don’t read spec sheets. They buy a phone which takes great photos, is easy to use and has all the apps they could ever want.

On the other hand, I do see the odd Galaxy Note in the wild, and when I tried one out I liked the big screen combined with a stylus. But I also hated everything else about it.

I think Apple will likely stick to the current size, if for no other reason than that all the apps in the App Store are designed for an iPhone-sized screen. One thing’s certain, though: this isn’t the last giant iPhone/tiny iPad rumor we’ll hear.

[Via Reuters]

  • Goran Daemon Peuc

    No. Because this would mean two things: Retina would not look so magnificent, and everything will just be BIGGER. A button which is designed to be of nice size on normal iPhones would look too big on this. This spells troubles for designers and programmers. 

  • joewaylo

    I see it happening. Not sure they’d go for a 6 inch iPhone with a “4-6 inch” being the headline. They already have an LTE, A5X and massive battery. Just need to tone down the power requirement a little. Hopefully they’ll add the 18 months push back this time around for those not allowed to obtain an iPhone 5 until May 2013.

  • Deepak K Tibrewal

    Nonsense. 

    Apple should not get influenced by these phablets. The screen size of present iPhone is fine. In fact I believe it has been stretched to it’s max limit for a phone. This may sound different from my earlier desire of a 4 inch scree. However after having seen and held bigger screen phones, i fell in love with my iPhone again.

    For activity requiring bigger screen, I may buy an iPad. Till then my Mac is fine.

  • Miguel Miranda ?

    IMHO the iPhone with the size of Galaxy Nexus is the only that makes sense.

  • techgeek01

    Can bigger really happen?  Apple tends to double (or quadruple, depending how you want to do the math) their displays because it’s the easiest way for the app to be resized/etc…

    Doing something like this could really make it awkward for the Apps.

    Mainly, how many apps in the app store are designed to run on a screen shape/size of this?

    Unlike Android where Apps are designed to run on a verity of sizes, here could be problematic, since the developers would have to resize their apps so it won’t be funky on this larger display.

    That being said, I know a lot of people who aren’t buying iPhones because the display is too small.  I would look at a larger iPhone, but the thing is: Current iPhone is way too small for me.  I have trouble enough with my friends iPhones at the current size.  But a Galaxy Note?  Far easier and better for me to use. 

  • techgeek01

    Can bigger really happen?  Apple tends to double (or quadruple, depending how you want to do the math) their displays because it’s the easiest way for the app to be resized/etc…

    Doing something like this could really make it awkward for the Apps.

    Mainly, how many apps in the app store are designed to run on a screen shape/size of this?

    Unlike Android where Apps are designed to run on a verity of sizes, here could be problematic, since the developers would have to resize their apps so it won’t be funky on this larger display.

    That being said, I know a lot of people who aren’t buying iPhones because the display is too small.  I would look at a larger iPhone, but the thing is: Current iPhone is way too small for me.  I have trouble enough with my friends iPhones at the current size.  But a Galaxy Note?  Far easier and better for me to use. 

  • Shane Bryson

     There is no LTE iPhone yet, sorry. There will never be a 4-6 in iPhone. Just won’t happen.

  • Shane Bryson

    I really have a hard time believing people who claim the iPhone screen is too small for them. I have very large fingers, and have absolutely no problem typing, versus using the Galaxy SII, which is constantly miss tapping with me. My eye sight is also pretty shotty and I don’t have a problem seeing.

    iPhone is a perfect size.

  • Shane Bryson

    It really doesn’t, at all. Too big. Not to mention, fragmentation of the screen line up will hurt the quality of apps that programmers are putting out. Look at Android for proof.

  • Andrea Maietta

    First off the screen size will not mess with retina , hence ipad3 retina display, secondly LTE will also be included once again see ipad3. So DO NOT look for an iphone screen smaller than 4″ and definitely look for LTE and the A6 chip. PS redesign is also a done deal

  • techgeek01

    Funny, my family is made up with people with large hands.  We cannot type one word on an iPhone without having a typo.  But a Galaxy Note or Galaxy S II?  With easy, we can type a novel without many typo’s.

    What’s funny is watching people who “switch” from an iPhone (or smaller phone) to a larger phone.  Then, after owning a larger phone for several days, or weeks, they didn’t realize how small the display is.

    One of my friends went from an iPhone 4 to an HTC Titan.  After a week of owning it, it didn’t realize how small the iPhone display really was.  Now, after using it for several months, he simply cannot and won’t be able to switch to a phone with a smaller display, especially a phone with a 3.5 inch display.

    A lot of people I know claim that 3.5″ is the perfect size.  But it’s (literally) all the die-hard apple users who simply refuse to even touch a non-iPhone.

    I think you’re going to find that most people will want a larger display phone.  At least 4 inches, if not bigger.

    Oh, and these die-hard apple users I know? If Apple made a 4 inch iPhone or larger, they will jump right on board with that larger display.

    There was a study that found like 90% of the population would take a phone display between 4 and 4.3 inches.

    The point being.  the iPhone display size is simply small, and maybe too small.  And a display between 4 and 4.3 inches is THE optimal size.

    Software buttons in ICS will allow for larger phones to be smaller.  Since the buttons on the front will be software, it will allow the display to be even larger. Or make the phone smaller.  And it’s expected that Windows 8 Phones will take this route as well.

    Meaning that there will be a general trend to larger display phones.

    If I recall correctly, Nokia had a phone (N9) that was similar in size as the iPhone, but with a 4 inch display.  That being said, the phone could be made with a 4.3 (maybe even a 4.5 inch display) and still be (roughly) the same size.

    Meaning that eventually, a phone the size of a current iPhone could sport a 4.5 inch display, vs a 3.5 inch display.  Then, people can’t complain that these larger displays phones are “too big”.  And matter of fact, this may make 5 inch phones, “normal” in size. 

  • premonition2386

    Their getting paid, if they won’t do the job someone else will. If you think apple will never ever upgrade the screen for that very reason, you need to wake up from fairy tale land.

  • premonition2386

    then again S2 is running android, I notice that even though the iphone has small keys its more accurate, and thats do to the screen and software, so if apple were to up the size to at least a 4.0 screen, you shouldnt have a problem

  • RadTech5000

    I think it’s logical to expect this, everyone is talking about and for Apple to not give us a larger screen at this point would lead to a huge disappointment. Also we all know how much more juice it takes for that larger screen and 4G LTE, if Apple can’t give us the same battery life I don’t expect this to happen.

  • angermeans

    I don’t like to doubt apple as they often surprise me, but in order to keep the iPhone’s “retina” status I don’t foresee apple going any bigger than 4 inches and even that would be cutting in close. I really doubt we will see Apple up the screen size and slightly up the resolution to be able to have that retina status as history shows us that apple has simply doubled the vertical and horizontal pixels on both the iPhone and now iPad which makes exactly quadruple the pixels in both screens. Im pretty sure the reason they do this is to prevent application fragmentation. I think from Apple’s marketing a screen has to be somewhere a little over 300 ppi so that the human eye cannot distinguish pixels while using at a normal distance from the eye. I think the iPhone now has somewhere near 330 ppi so they have a little room to play, but this is the reason I think if we do happen to see a larger display it won’t be much bigger than the screen that is out today. Having that retina display is very important and I just don’t see apple raising the pixel count a little just to keep that when theyve done the opposite in the past. It will be interesting to see how apple accomplishes this task, but as for this rumor of a 4.6 inch screen I just don’t see it.

    The iPhone has a resolution of 640×960 and a ppi of 330 (screen size is 3.5)

    If the iPhone had a 4.6 inch screen then it would have a ppi of 251 and that is much lower than the around 300 ppi needed for their retina display. That is much to low.

    If the iPhone had a 4 inch display with the same resolution it would be appx 289 which is much closer to that 300 ppi.

    Like I said this is interesting and we will have to wait and see how apple handles this (if they even change the screen size at all). I think it is the next jump we will see, but they will have to drastically change the way they have been doing things thus far with ios and it’s iPhone and iPad lineup.

  • Bolyki György

    the are not planning, nor they did. DID U GET IT? Stop these viewer count maker rumors.

  • zviivz

    It’s probably a remote control for the rumored iTV. :)

  • premonition2386

    Apple was able to allow 264 ppi on a 9.7 in screen so why cant it still hit 300 on a 4inch?

  • Andrea Maietta

    not to burst all the naysayers bubble but both bloomberg tv and foxbussiness reported the 4.6 inch screen orders from apple

  • DasithWijesiriwardena

    if you hit 300 that means you have a differant aspect ratio… read his post. Apple has gone for the same aspect ratio in the past because you make app development easier. If they keep the same aspect ratio then the ppi will be 289.

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Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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