Rumors of an iPhone 5 with a four-inch display gained support late this week with a sighting of what might be its first identifiable part. A touchscreen digitizer layer shows the outline of an iPhone but with a noticeably larger, edge-to-edge screen. iDealsChina's snapshot from an unidentified Chinese firm suggests it would otherwise be superficially identical to the iPhone 4, although it's presumed Apple will make changes to improve the antenna performance.
More photos might be available soon, the company said, including the back.
If it reaches the market, the screen is unofficially expected to keep the 960x640 resolution of the iPhone 4 for the sake of app compatibility but would be easier to read at a distance and potentially better for watching videos. Most doubts around a larger screen persist around the changes in interface size, since buttons and navigation bars would remain the same.
A move to four inches would most likely be to help counter perceptions that Apple is lagging behind Android manufacturers in screens. The iPhone 4's display is higher resolution than on the Samsung Galaxy S and most other four-inch or larger screens, but it now represents one of the smallest displays for a high-end smartphone. Apple may also be losing its resolution edge as phones like the Motorola Atrix 4G are now using 540x960 resolutions.