Apple plans to use a larger screen on its next-generation iPhone and has begun to place orders for the new displays from suppliers in South Korea and Japan, according to sources.
The new iPhone screens will measure four inches from corner to corner, one source said. That would represent a roughly 30% increase in viewing area, assuming Apple kept other dimensions proportional. Apple has used a 3.5-inch screen since introducing the iPhone in 2007.
Early production of the screens has begun at three suppliers: Korea’s LG Display Co Ltd, Sharp Corp and Japan Display, a Japanese government-brokered merger combining the screen production of three companies.
It is likely all three of the screen suppliers will get production orders from Apple, which could begin in June. That would allow the new iPhone to go into production by August if the company follows its own precedent in moving from orders for prototypes for key components to launch.
Apple’s decision to equip the next iPhone with a larger screen represents part of a competitive response to Samsung which unveiled its top-of-the line Galaxy smartphone with a 4.8-inch touch-screen and a faster processor earlier this month. Samsung, which this year became the world’s largest mobile phone maker, sold 45 million smartphones in the first quarter, and sales of the Galaxy phones outstripped the iPhone.
Apple’s move towards a larger display for the next generation iPhone was earlier reported by the Wall Street Journal.
In addition to being Apple’s rival, Samsung is also a major components supplier to the US computer, tablet and phone manufacturer.
The share of the production of new screens that go to each of the three manufacturers working with Apple has not been determined, one source said.
Sales of the touch-screen iPhone now account for about one-half of Apple’s total sales, and the phone has been a key source of growth for the company in Asia.
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