According to Reuters, Okuda made the announcement at a press conference in Tokyo, where Sharp reps were discussing a quarterly earnings report. His comments have attracted a lot of interest in the tech press, and for good reason: While Apple rumors are a dime a dozen, most gossip comes from anonymous sources in the Apple supply chain – not the chiefs of multinational electronics giants.
And the chiefs of multinational electronics giants rarely muff up the facts. So yes, the iPhone 5 will almost certainly launch this fall, perhaps as early as September. That would allow Apple to meet its yearly product refresh cycle, and put the iPhone 5 – or whatever the next Apple smartphone is called – on shelves just in time for the holiday shopping rush. (As we noted recently, the iPhone is still selling well, but not as well as some analysts had hoped.)
Back to the aforementioned display: Reuters says that the new iPhone will sport a screen measuring four inches corner to corner – 30 percent larger than the 3.5-inch screen on the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4. In addition, the display itself will be thinner, thanks to touch sensors embedded into the liquid crystal. That, in turn, could allow Apple to slim down the shape of its top-selling smartphone.
But why a bigger display? A larger screen also means that you have more room inside the device to fit processors, extra features, and a bigger battery. If Apple wanted to add, say, an NFC chip, where would the company put it? Do you make everything inside the phone smaller? Or do you make the screen larger, giving yourself more room? Apple is already aiming for a smaller dock connection, according to other rumors.
Plus, the bigger display allows for some catch-up. The Samsung Galaxy S III, for instance, packs a 4.8-inch screen, and the Samsung Galaxy S III is selling like hotcakes. Perhaps Apple wants to step up its game.