Apple's 5.5-inch iPhone may be delayed until 2015

For months now, reports have swirled that Apple this fall will introduce new larger screened iPhone models, one with a 4.-7 inch display and another with a 5.5-inch display.

Now comes word from reputed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that the 5.5-inch model may be pushed back. While the 4.7-inch model is, by all accounts, slated to hit store shelves this fall, the larger model may be pushed back as far as 2015.

In a research note obtained by AppleInsider, Kuo relays that Apple is experiencing trouble with respect to the device's in-cell touch panels along with color unevenness.

"In particular, he said the new in-cell touch panels may have issues related to touch sensitivity on the edges of the panel as displays become larger in size, making the 5.5-inch model a much greater technical achievement for Apple to accomplish.

In addition, Kuo said he doesn't expect that a new scratch-resistant 5.5-inch sapphire front panel will "easily pass the drop test near term." That technical issue could also prompt delays, he said.

Indeed, the notion of drop tests is extremely interesting. As many outlets have reported, the 5.5-inch iPhone model is rumored to sport a sapphire display. And as the second hardest material on the planet behind diamonds, this would make the iPhone nearly impervious to scratching. There is a distinct and important difference, however, between scratch proof and shatter proof. While the Gorilla Glass currently used on the iPhone is more than serviceable, it's not yet a sure thing that a sapphire display will be just as reliable when dropped.

When the 5.5-inch iPhone is eventually released, it's believed it will carry a $100 price premium over the 4.7-inch model. Customer surveys, however, suggest that most consumers will be more than willing to pay the extra $100 in exchange for more screen real estate.

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