The new iPad just arrived this month, but the rumor mill wasted no time refocusing on Apple's other flagship portable — the iPhone. Quoting inside sources, Reuters is reporting that the iPhone 5 (if that's even what it'll be called) will feature a much larger 4.6-inch display, a move that would put it on par with Samsung's Galaxy smartphones in the super-sized screen showdown. The iPhone has sported a 3.5-inch screen since its 2007 debut. But with Apple's ultra-sharp Retina technology creeping into the company's product lines, would a bigger, more media-friendly screen be such a bad thing?
Bigger isn't always better: "There's something optimal about 3.5 inches," says Sam Biddle at Gizmodo. It's just the right size for movies, comfortable for light reading, and can still slip into the pocket of even the skinniest jeans. Apple is notorious for its "monastic dedication to consistency," and Steve Jobs himself was adamant about maintaining the iPhone's screen size. Why would the company change a handheld that already sells "millions upon millions every single year?"
"Five reasons why the stupid 4.6-inch iPhone rumor won’t happen"
But Samsung might be onto something: Even if 3.5 inches is the perfect size for a phone, "Samsung loves to remind us that one-size doesn't fit all," says Raymond Wong at DVICE, and a 4.6-inch iPhone would go toe-to-toe with Samsung's 4.65-inch Galaxy Nexus. Though a larger display would require a correspondingly massive battery to power it, as Samsung has shown, there is a "demand for larger smartphone screens." For Apple, a Retina display over 4 inches "would be more than enough to get people camping out for weeks ahead of launch."
"Rumor: Sixth-generation iPhone could have 4.6-inch Retina display"
A bigger iPhone screen is just a fantasy: This story is probably "bogus," says Jared Newman at PC World. The rumor mill has been talking about different iPhone sizes for years, including an iPhone mini, but such devices have never materialized — in public at least. "My best guess is that Apple has ordered prototypes of a larger iPhone, just as it has reportedly done with a 7-inch iPad." Apple is constantly experimenting with its products behind closed doors. "Coming to market is another story."
"4.6-inch iPhone? Don't believe the hype"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- In defense of Obama's golfing
- Russia's new air force is a mystery
- A trick for better lunch sandwiches
- The government is getting into the fact-checking business. Be very, very afraid.
Subscribe to the Week