Rumours of 4.8in iPhone 6 prompt Apple share boost

The iPhone 5S and 5C are barely off the shelves, but already the rumour mill is grinding about the features of Apple's next major smartphone release.

Several sources have suggested that the iPhone 6 could feature a larger 4.8in display, and its stock price has lifted as a result.

This hints that Apple is trying to keep pace with competitors like Samsung, whose recent flagship, the Galaxy S4, has a 5in screen

A Wall Street Journal report in September suggested that Apple was testing iPhone designs that feature screens as large as 6in. While Apple tests hundreds of products that never see the light of day, the reports suggested an anxiety in Cupertino that Samsung might be snaring users who valued a larger screen, with its 5.7in Galaxy Note 3 "phablet" another popular choice amongst punters.

With the BBC recently reporting that smartphones account for 15 per cent of all iPlayer traffic - a number that's rising every year -mobile companies are increasingly looking to their devices' potential as vehicles for media-consumption.

Peter Misek, an analyst at Jefferies & Co., released a note to investors on Monday, changing his assessment of Apple's prospects for the better. He had previously given Apple's shares a Hold rating, whereas he has now advised brokers to buy the company's stock, upgrading his assessment from $450 (£280) to $600 (£373) per share.

Misek's note justified his decision, citing lower component costs from Apple's suppliers, and an increase in gross margins.

"We est ~50% of smartphone shipments have >4″ screen", Misek wrote. "We now believe better [gross margins] will allow Apple to skate by until iPhone 6 launches with its 4.8″ screen".

As a result of the report, Apple's shares jumped more than one per cent. This news will surely embolden those within Apple who have been pushing for larger screens for iPhones.

Misek is known to have made good predictions about new Apple releases in the past, and is respected as an industry expert. While nothing is official until it's announced, rumours of a larger screen on the next Apple smartphone are gaining more traction with every leak.

The iPhone 6 is likely to be released sometime in 2014.

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