Report: Apple’s next iPhone will incorporate enormous 4.6-inch display

Of course, now that all the pre-launch fuss surrounding the new iPad is over, if you listen carefully you can hear the sound of something else; something cranking ever so slowly into action. You got it — it’s the iPhone 5 rumor mill, which from now until launch date, whenever that may be, will be presenting Apple smartphone fans with a dazzling variety of will-it-won’t-it possibilities, in the process whipping up a frenzy of expectation so head-spinningly crazy that when the device does finally hit the shelves with its spanking new this or spiffing new that you’ll be first in line, eyes bulging, mouth drooling, sweat pouring, ready to hand over your hard-earned dollars in order to have that darn handset in your possession. Or something like that.

So here goes. The new iPhone will have an enormous 4.6-inch Retina display, a Reuters report claimed on Wednesday. It also said the device would be launched “around the second quarter” and that the Cupertino company had already placed orders with its display suppliers, LG Display and Samsung.

Reuters obtained its story from South Korean newspaper Maeil Business, which received its information from an “unnamed industry source.” All a bit vague then.

It’s widely expected that the next iteration of Apple’s big-selling handset will come with a larger screen, but exactly how big is the question. A 4.6-inch screen, as the report suggests, would be a significant jump from the current 3.5-inch display. Apple enthusiast site MacRumors is skeptical.

“There have been persistent rumors that the next generation iPhone would carry a larger 4-inch screen,” it says. “We are convinced that Apple had exactly such designs in late prototype stages in China. The proliferation of iPhone cases with measurements of at least a 4-inch screen seemed to suggest that a number of suppliers were also convinced of that fact.”

The suggested second quarter introduction date would fit with the launch dates of earlier versions of the phone, except the iPhone 4S, which was unveiled just last October. Would Apple really launch another handset so soon after the 4S hit the market? Or might they give it a year and wait till October before showing it off?

Of course, it might be that Apple’s next handset isn’t even called the iPhone 5. It might well follow the iPad’s path and be launched as simply the new iPhone. No doubt there’ll be a rumor circulating about that shortly.