Rumor: Apple now testing 4.9-inch iPhone 6 and iPhone 5c successor

iPhone 5.7 (T3 magazine concept teaser 001)

A Chinese blog that leaked a few credible Apple parts earlier in the year is out with a new report that’s making the rounds this morning. Apparently, Apple has begun testing upcoming iPhone models with larger screens that go beyond the current four-inch form factor the company inaugurated with the iPhone 5 release a year ago. A large-screen iPhone 6 was mulled before, but this is the first time anyone mentioned an iPhone 5c successor adopting a bigger screen as well.

On the flip side, it’s impossible to take these reports at face value. These things are often misinterpreted and even Tim Cook bothered to urge people not to read too much into such a complex beast as Apple’s supply chain. Moreover, it goes without saying that Apple is constantly experimenting with various form factors, which could explain these rumors…

Chinese-language blog C Technology is reporting that Apple is testing an iPhone 6 prototype with a large screen measuring 4.9 inches diagonally, along with a successor to the iPhone 5c – that one, too, sporting a larger screen.

A reblog of the C Technology story by UnwiredView notes that the original article did not make it clear how big the screen of the iPhone 5c successor will be. I’m puzzled – isn’t this year’s iPhone 5s expected to become next year’s iPhone 5c?

If Apple is in fact testing various screen sizes during the next-gen iPhone development cycle, there’s still no guaranteed that the company will in fact adopt one. The pundits and some outlets seemingly agree that larger iPhones are coming, but the actual form factor remains the main point of contention.

iPhone 5 Liquidmetal concept (image 006)

For starters, China Times was first to mention a 4.8-inch iPhone back in January 2013, matching up nicely with analyst Peter Misek’s December 2012 claim of a 4.8-inch iPhone prototype with Sharp-made IGZO screen. The in June, Reuters said Apple was testing handsets with screens ranging between 4.7 and 5.7-inches.

This prompted both Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal to join iPhablet talk, with their own sources pointing at jumbo-sized iPhones. The Wall Street Journal in mid-July 2013 quoted suppliers as saying that Apple was testing larger screens for iPhones and tablets.


The publication’s September report added some color to the story as Apple was reportedly developing “something bigger” at the time. “The electronics giant has begun evaluating a plan to offer iPhones with screens ranging from 4.8 inches to as high as six inches,” people familiar with the matter told WSJ.

Then, earlier this month, came Bloomberg with 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone memes, both ostensibly planned for release in the second half of next year. The new phones will feature “larger displays with glass that curves downward at the edges,” wrote the news organization.

Finally, NPD DisplaySearch jumped on the iPhablet bus with claims of 4.7-inch and 5.7-inch iPhone models, both thought to be coming some time next year.

Who’s buying into these rumors?