Rumors that Apple is manufacturing 5-inch retina displays for the iPhone 5 would seem far fetched. But it could be that these displays are slated for the fabled “Mini iPad.”
Imagine for a moment that Tim Cook unveils the iPhone this year and it doesn’t have a 3.7-, 4.0-, 4.3-, or even 4.6-inch display — numbers that we’ve all heard rumored for the iPhone 5. Instead, the iPhone 5 turns out to a tablet-smartphone line-blurrer (is that a word?) with a 5-inch screen.
That’s what Stuff’s hook-laden headline would like you to believe. According to their report: “Apple is building a 5in Retina Display – which could be used for the iPhone 5 or a rumoured iPad Mini. Reports from a Japanese manufacturer suggest that the 5in Retina Displays are going into production ready for a 2013 device release.”
It’s strange to imaging where a 5-inch Retina display fits into the possible 2012 Apple product ecosphere, isn’t it? Just about the only half-reasonable argument for a 5-inch iPhone 5 is that the Samsung Galaxy Note is already out there, and Apple thinks that it’s big screen and hidden stylus pen is a bold idea that they can do much, much better. But I find that doubtful: Steve Jobs was pretty skeptical of small-screen tablets and stylii. It’s hard to imagine that Cupertino would break from his ideologies so radically. Besides, the tech community is far from having embraced the notion of a smartphone with a 5-inch screen. Heck, the debate rages on if even a 4.6-inch screen is too big.
But the 5-inch Retina display rumor is even problematic for the never-ending “Mini iPad” rumor as well.
We’ve been hearing about the Mini iPad for quite a long time now — well over a year — and no one has ever talked about it having a tiny 5-inch screen; the estimates have always been in the 7-inch range. Just as the 5-inch iPhone 5 would be massive, conversely, a 5-inch iPad would a bit too diminutive. In this way, the rumor seems too outlandish to be true. And because the original source is from a Japanese-language website, it’s hard to parse out its veracity.
I think it’s always worth chronicling the iPhone 5 and iPad rumors, even if they seem too good (or bad) to be true. Most who follow iPhone and Mini iPad rumors will agree that a 5-inch display on either of these two devices would be a strange move that would completely turn the tech community on its head. But perhaps that’s exactly what Tim Cook is looking to do this year?
By Michael Nace