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iPhone 5 to have a 4.6-inch screen?

Rumours are circulating that the iPhone 5 will play host to a larger screen. But how likely is that?

The iPhone 5 could play host to a 4.6-inch retina display, according to new reports. That would make the next iPhone's screen over an inch larger than the current iPhone 4S's 3.5-inch panel.

Anonymous industry sources have tipped Korean newspaper Maeil Business Newspaper that Apple's settled on the screen size of its next iPhone, and has started placing orders with suppliers, Reuters reports.

But how likely is it that the next iPhone will ramp up the display real estate? Rival manufacturers like HTC and Samsung have upped the size of their smart phone displays to the point where the 4.65-inch Samsung Galaxy Nexus no longer looks ludicruously large, but Apple thus far has stuck at 3.5 inches.

The company has to be careful when it comes to increasing screen size, because it won't want to leave its wealth of existing apps looking rubbish on a new screen.

Any apps designed for the iPhone 4S' 960x640-pixel 3.5-inch display would look somewhat shaky on a 4.6-inch screen. That might not stick Apple's hand though -- developers would just have to upgrade their apps to take advantage of the new pixels.

There was a rocky transitional phase when the iPhone 4 was released, during which most iPhone apps looked horrible on the new device. Now that the new iPad is out, I've noticed that many icons and graphics that looked fine on the iPad 2 are suddenly appearing very blocky.

If the next iPhone did have a 4.6-inch display, it's likely it would have a similar resolution to the 4.65-inch Galaxy Nexus, which packs 720x1,280 pixels for a pixels-per-inch count of about 319 -- slightly less than the iPhone 4S' 330 ppi.

Pixel densities aside, it's possible Apple won't meddle with the iPhone's screen size simply because it believes the 3.5-inch display is the perfect size already, and doesn't care what other companies are doing (though the 4S does look tiddly now compared to the raft of enormo-phones released recently). Apple has the larger screen territory covered with the iPad and it won't want to put people off buying both.

Incidentally, it's also likely that the new iPhone will simply be called the new iPhone -- Apple's peculiar naming direction for its latest iPad signals that it's moving away from the 3, 3G and 4S suffixes.

Are you greedy for a larger screen on the next iPhone or are your retinas sated by the current 3.5-inch display? Roll your eyeballs down to the comments section below and let me know what you think, or on our Facebook wall.

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