iphoneplus-all-models-extrawide

Apple and its suppliers are testing larger screens for iPhones and tablets, according to a new report by The Wall Street Journal. The outlet claims the Cupertino company has asked its Asian partners for a wide range of screen sizes for prototype devices.

In recent months, Apple has requested smartphone screens larger than 4 inches—the size of the displays on its current iPhone and iPod, as well as screen designs for a new tablet device that is said to measure slightly less than 13 inches diagonally…

The Journal’s Lorraine Luk has the scoop:

“Apple Inc. AAPL -1.58% and its Asian suppliers are testing larger screens for iPhones and tablets, officials at the company’s suppliers say.

In recent months, Apple has asked for prototype smartphone screens larger than 4 inches and has also asked for screen designs for a new tablet device measuring slightly less than 13 inches diagonally, they said. The current iPhone 5 has a four-inch screen, while the iPad has a 9.7-inch screen. The iPad Mini, a stripped-down version of its tablet computer, has a 7.9-inch screen.”

Of course, Luk is quick to tag the news with the boilerplate disclaimer: “Apple regularly tests different designs for its products as it refines them during development.” So keep that in mind, as it’s possible these ‘prototype devices’ will never see the light of day.

iPhone 6 mockup (Martin Hajek 007)concept by Martin Hajek

It’s worth noting, however, that the claims aren’t unsubstantiated. We’ve heard a number of reports now that Apple is working on iPhones with various display sizes. In June, Reuters said it was testing handsets with screens ranging between 4.7 and 5.7-inches.

And even the 13-inch tablet idea doesn’t come without prior art. In May, a story made its way around the web that Apple was building a 12.9-inch ‘iPad Maxi.’ Admittedly, we called this rumor ‘crazy,’ but it appears that there’s at least some truth to the matter.

The key takeaway here is that it looks like Apple is no longer ok with the status quo. They’re no longer convinced that the iPhone should just be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ handset, and are at least open to the idea of expanding the line like it has its iPod and iPad.

Don’t get too excited though. We won’t likely see the fruit of this new thinking until next year, at the earliest. This year’s model, the iPhone 5S, is expected to feature the same hardware design and screen size as last year’s model with a few modest enhancements.

What do you make of all of this? Will Apple release an iPhone with a larger display? And what about this 13-inch iPad?

Image credit: marco arment