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Apple iPhone 5 said to have sub-4-inch screen, metal case

If you were hoping for a massive screen on the next iPhone, you may be out of luck. According to Taiwan-based DigiTimes, the display of Apple’s next-generation handset will measure less than 4 inches, dashing the long-running rumors that said otherwise. The screen, says an unnamed source, will measure 3.7-inches, up from the 3.5-inch Retina Display of the iPhone 4.

Speculation that the iPhone 5‘s screen would measure 4-inches or more (some have said 4.2-inches) is reportedly based on little more than what the market expects the next iPhone to be, says DigiTimes. This means, basically, that there are a bunch of technology analyst out there making guesses about the iPhone 5 based upon what the rest of the mobile industry is doing, in order to advise investors who are trying to get a leg up on Wall Street. Those guesses are then leaked out into the world of tech news sites, the game of telephone begins, and rumors run wild. As we all know, however, Apple rarely follows industry trends; they make industry trends. So basing expectations about Apple on what other companies are doing isn’t worth much.

While we’ve been hearing that the fifth-generation iPhone will have a 4-inch screen or larger for some time, this isn’t the first time we heard about a less than 4-inch display. Joshua Topolsky at This Is My Next also reported (back in April) that the iPhone 5 would have a 3.7-inch screen. The screen of the new iPhone will maintain the 960×640 resolution of the iPhone 4′s display, which means Apple can only increase the size a small amount without a visible drop in image quality.

“Rumors have been suggesting that the size would bump up to 4 inches, but at that size with the current resolution, pixel density drops to 288, making it harder for Apple to use the [Retina Display] branding,” writes Topolsky.

In addition to screen size, DigiTimes‘ source also says that the iPhone 5 will have a metal back, rather than the glass back of the iPhone 4. This will do two things. First, it will ” allow the bezel of the panel to become thinner and make the screen look larger,” as DigiTimes points out. It should make the new iPhone a bit more  durable than the iPhone 4, which has been often criticized for its fragility.

In addition to these details, common iPhone 5 rumors say that the next-gen handset will have an 8-megapixel camera, a faster,dual-core A5 processor and full HD video recording capabilities. It may also be available on Sprint, as well as the current carriers, AT&T and Verizon. The iPhone 5 is expected sometime in late-September or October.