iPhone 5 with larger screen and thinner form factor on the horizon

Apple's next generation iPhone will likely sport a larger 4-inch screen while being 20% thinner than the iPhone 4S

During Apple's last holiday quarter, the company sold slightly over 37 million iPhones, setting a quarterly iPhone sales record in the process. Not too shabby for a device that critics were quick to pan as nothing more than a modest upgrade when it was unveiled this past October. What's more, when AT&T and Verizon released their earnings from Q1 2012 they both noted that the iPhone was the most popular smartphone they had.

Put simply, the iPhone 4S has been selling like hotcakes across the globe, but Apple's iPhone sales numbers may be poised to rise substantially higher when it unveils its next-gen iPhone, likely some time in Fall 2012.

(Watch Steve Jobs play FDR in long-lost take-off on "1984")

To borrow a phrase from Steve Jobs, the next-gen iPhone is looking more and more like an A+ upgrade. It's largely believed that the iPhone 5 will support 4G LTE, and more than that, there are increasingly credible reports pointing to an iPhone 5 with a larger screen.

To that end, Jeremy Horwitz of iLounge - who is more often right than he is wrong - relayed some interesting nuggets about the next-gen iPhone he recently heard through the grapevine. Horwitz writes that Apple's new iPhone will, in fact, sport a larger 4-inch screen. Now screen sizes are measured on the diagonal so Apple will reportedly increase the screen size not by making it wider, but making it longer. What's more, the new iPhone will be thinner than the iPhone 4S.

Approximate measurements are 125mm by 58.5mm by 7.4mm—a 10mm jump in height, nearly 2mm reduction in thickness, and virtually identical width. According to our source, Apple will make one major change to the rear casing, adding a metal panel to the central back of the new iPhone. This panel will be flat, not curved, and metal, not ceramic. Our artist’s rendition provides a rough idea of what this change will look like; it echoes the current-generation iMac design, to be sure.

If Horwitz's information about the new iPhone form factor is accurate, and indeed, previous reports have also alluded to a longer and slimmer design, this will mark the first time Apple has moved on from the 3.5-inch screen that has graced every iPhone model going all the way back to the original. It also means that the new iPhone will have a new aspect ratio as well, which will pose an issue for current iOS apps.

(Steve Jobs and his gadgets ... in LEGO)

Also of note is that the new iPhone will reportedly make use of Gorilla Glass 2, thereby enabling the iPhone to be 20% thinner while providing the same type of robust strength as the original Gorilla Glass. Lastly, Horwitz, reiterates previous claims that the new iPhone will utilize a smaller dock connector, a seemingly ignorable detail but for the fact that it may free up some valuable real estate, albeit small, within the iPhone to allow for a larger battery - which the device will likely need given 4G support and a bigger screen.

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