Apple planning four-inch screen for iPhone 5

Apple is planning to give the iPhone 5 a bigger screen in line with Android offerings, according to information gleaned from component manufacturers.

Occasionally accurate Taiwanese industry watcher Digitimes has been digging about in the bins behind various Apple manufacturing partners and reckons the Cupertino company has plans to increase the display size of the next iPhone offering to four inches.

The report says that the move is in line with the majority of Android smartphones which offer a screen larger than the current 3.5-inch Retina Display.

Some mobile makers are going even further, with Acer planning a series 4.8-inch smarties and Sharp laying its bets on a pocket-busting 5.5-inch format.

Quite frankly, the frequency of rumours about the next coming of the holy handset are starting to make our heads spin a bit. If we took all of them seriously, we'd be looking at 23 new iPhone models being launched in the next 12 months ranging from one small enough to be eaten by a domestic cat to once big enough to be kill the same moggie if you accidentally dropped it on its head.

For what it's worth, we reckon Apple already has a pretty decent formula in place for what people want in a mobile phone, in the shape of the iPhone 4 - which is still selling by the cartload.

Making a bigger phone to ride on the coat-tails of untested Android sales just doesn't fit with the whole Apple ethos, although with our failing eyesight a slightly bigger screen would be a bonus.

It's true that the likes of the Dell Streak have opened up a new market sector somewhere between the iPhone and the iPad - 'superphone' or 'pocket tablet'... take your choice - but Apple has already made it abundantly clear that it has no intention of making a smaller tablet device.