The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the next iPhone is "expected" to feature a screen larger than the 3.5-inch display that has been found on the iPhone since it first launched in 2007. Production of the screens is reportedly set to begin in the next few months, and it will measure "at least 4 inches diagonally."
Apple is said to be working with a number of screen manufacturers for the larger display on the next iPhone, including LG Display, Sharp, and a new company, Japan Display Inc., that was created last month by three Japanese companies and the government. Wednesday's report made no mention of Samsung as a display partner.
Rumors have suggested for some time that the next iPhone will be a major redesign, overhauling the look of the handset that has remained since the launch of the iPhone 4 in mid-2010. A larger screen would be a major change for the device, and could require developers to update their applications to take advantage of the larger display.
Apple's rumored shift comes as competitors continue to offer smartphones with larger screens. In particular, the Samsung Galaxy S II, which features a 4.8-inch display, is the new flagship device for the company.
Samsung's Galaxy Note also features a massive 5.3-inch stylus-driven display that the company has advertised offers both the best of a smartphone and of a tablet. The device was cited by the company in its quarterly earnings in April as a strong seller.
Mockup of a sixth-gen iPhone with a taller 4-inch screen, via MacRumors.
As rumors of an iPhone with a larger screen have continued to crop up, various renderings have been put together online by enthusiasts who have speculated that a larger screen would result in a slightly taller iPhone adding more pixels to the top and bottom of the screen. One report from earlier this month claimed the next iPhone will be the same width as the current iPhone 4S, meaning the new screen would have a different aspect ratio than previous generation models.
With a 4-inch display, the iOS home screen could theoretically fit another row of icons on the home screen, bringing the total number to six. Applications written for the iPhone 4S and earlier handsets could simply feature black bars at the top and bottom of the screen, using the same aspect ratio and screen space as it would on the earlier devices.