Rumor: iPhone 5 with 4-inch screen expected this summer

iPhone rumor season never stops, and the latest one claims Apple's got a handful of manufacturing samples floating around with 4-inch screens that look far enough along to warrant a release this summer.

Two iPhones

Apple could be getting back on its summer release schedule for the iPhone, if you want to believe a new rumor.

Citing a "reliable source at Foxconn in China," Apple-focused blog 9to5Mac says Apple's got a handful of sample devices for the next iPhone "floating around," and that based on previous production scheduling, the company could be looking to release a new model this summer.

The blog also notes some changes on these samples compared to previous iPhone models including a 4-inch (or larger) display, and a form factor that looks unlike the current iPhone 4 and 4S with a "longer/wider" appearance. 9to5Mac also says none of these supposed samples carry a tapered, teardrop shape, a form-factor that rumors leading up to the iPhone 4S unveiling had so heartily suggested.

A return to a summer release schedule would make the next iPhone the first to see a release in less than a year between models. The iPhone 4S was the first phone to get off of Apple's annual schedule, a move that resulted in record-breaking iPhone sales that were detailed in yesterday's quarterly earnings .

As for the 4-inch display rumor, that one has been kicking around for nearly a year, dating back to last February. It first emerged from a snapshot out of China depicting the front screen of what looked like an iPhone with a larger and wider display. Just weeks before, component industry tracker DigiTimes claimed that Apple was eyeing bigger screens , in part to better compete with Android devices. Then in March, purported "mold engineering" drawings cropped up , depicting such a device that looked like an iPhone 4 but with a noticeably larger screen. There was also a report in June from The Verge claiming it had seen device with a 3.7-inch display , complete with a mockup of said device.

Not to be outdone, a report by our own sister site CNET France in September said it heard the next iPhone would use a qHD screen that comes in 960x540 pixels and measures about 4.2 to 4.3 inches diagonally. That's compared to the iPhone 4 and 4S' 3.5-inch display that runs at a higher 960x640 pixels. Finally, there were the slew of cases that hit store shelves just ahead of the iPhone 4S unveiling designed for a slightly larger, but thinner iPhone, based on what was allegedly a prototype device that leaked from a Foxconn manufacturing facility.

So what's to believe about this rumor then? 9to5Mac says this source is the same one who told the outlet that there would be no iPhone 5 last year, suggesting that the company was working on another "S" model instead.


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