Report: iPhone 5 getting metal back, screen staying small

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The next iPhone won’t be all that different from its predecessor when it comes to screen size, according to a new report. Citing sources within Apple’s display panel supply stream, DigiTimes claims the iPhone 5’s screen will be between 3.5 and 3.7 inches, and not 4-inches or greater, as some reports in the past have claimed.

The report from DigiTimes, which has a fairly successful history of discovering information about the parts going into future Apple devices ahead of their release, says the iPhone 5’s display panel, despite not being much larger than the current iPhone’s 3.5-inch one, will nonetheless appear larger thanks to a new design. The bezel surrounding the display will be able to be made smaller, which will allow the screen to sit closer to the phone’s edge. This will make it look much bigger, and allow the iPhone 5 to sport an even slimmer, more compact form factor. It’s also possible that these reports address just one of two new iPhone models coming this fall, if speculation about a cheaper version of the iPhone arriving alongside a full-fledged iPhone 5 prove true.

Sources also claimed in the report that the iPhone 5’s back will be metal, instead of reinforced glass. That’s a rumor we’ve heard mentioned before, but so far, we’ve yet to really see much supporting evidence to back it up. Some think it would interfere with reception, but aftermarket mods that accomplish the same thing with the iPhone 4 do exist, and users don’t seem to report any reception problems (it may help that the antenna on the iPhone 4 is actually outside the device) so in theory it should work fine.

I argued early this year that the next iPhone might not need a considerably larger screen. While I still believe it likely won’t hinder its selling ability, after using the Samsung Galaxy S II with its 4.3-inch screen for a while, I do think a bigger display would be beneficial to iPhone owners. What do you think? Would a smaller screen be disappointing, or a welcome change if it helps the iPhone 5 take up even less room in your pocket?

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