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Apple 'new iPhone' 4-inch screen rumours gather pace

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Exterior view of the Apple iPad 3 launch event in San Francisco

© PA Images / Paul Sakuma/AP

Rumours of a larger screen being fitted in the next generation of the iPhone are gathering pace as another source claimed a 4-inch display will feature in the handset.

Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal cited an unnamed source as saying that the iPhone 5, or "new iPhone", will sport a display of at least 4 inches, much larger than the 3.5-inch screen in current model the iPhone 4S.

Reuters has now claimed that Apple is preparing to place orders with providers in South Korea and Japan for the larger screen, citing "people familiar with the situation".

The news agency said that the new iPhone screen will measure 4 inches from "corner to corner", roughly a 30% increase in viewing area on previous iPhone models.

"[Early production of the new screen has] begun at three suppliers: Korea's LG Display Co Ltd, Sharp Corp and Japan Display Inc, a Japanese government-brokered merger combining the screen production of three companies," said Reuters.

The online report noted that Apple's decision to equip the next iPhone with a larger screen is a "competitive response" to the growth of Samsung in the smartphone market.

Korean electronics giant Samsung this month announced the new Galaxy S3, a premium handset featuring a 4.8-inch screen and faster quad-core processor.

Consumers are increasingly using smartphones for tasks such as streaming video and playing games, meaning larger screens are favourable, as long as the device does not become cumbersome to hold and carry

Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee, said that a large-screen iPhone could help bring back the "wow" factor to the product line, and encourage old iPhone users to upgrade.

"Not only do users pay for features, but they also pay for aesthetics and design. That's as important, or more important, than features," Wu said. "People love the current design - but it's 18 months old."

Reuters said that Apple is likely to issue production orders in June, meaning the new iPhone would go into production in August with the view to an October launch, the same as the iPhone 4S.

In a note to clients, Wu said that the Cupertino-based firm has reduced the number of iPhone orders by 20% to 25% for the next quarter as it prepares for the new iPhone.

According to BGR, Wu believes that the decrease is "due to the upcoming 6th generation iPhone refresh likely in the September-October timeframe".

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