Apple is planning two new iPhones with larger displays that could launch as soon as September, Japanese news organization Nikkei reported March 28.
Production of 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch liquid crystal display (LCD) panels will begin in the April-June quarter at Japan Display's Mobara plant and elsewhere, said the report, backing rumors that Apple will finally follow the trend to large-screen devices started by rival Samsung.
Analysts have forecast that sales of "phablets," phones with displays 5 inches or larger, will surpass those of small tablets with displays between 7 and 8 inches. Technalysis Research expects more than 240 million phablets to ship in 2014, compared with 173 million notebooks and 158 million small tablets.
The resolution of the displays on Apple's next phones—which, in all likelihood, will be called the iPhone 6—are expected to be "significantly higher" than that of the iPhone 5S, added Nikkei.
The September Gemstone Factory
Taiwan-based Apple Daily reported in January that Apple was experimenting with displays made of sapphire, a far stronger material than the glass Apple currently uses for its displays, and had ordered 100 test units.
Apple has also begun building a sapphire glass factory in Mesa, Ariz.
When asked during an ABC News interview whether the sapphire was for the iWatch Apple is rumored to be working on, Apple CEO Tim Cook joked, "It's for a ring!"
At least one analyst has reported that Apple actually is working on a ring that will act as a controller for its upcoming television set, the rumored "iTV."
Construction work at the Mesa factory is going on "around the clock and even on weekends," according to a March 26 report from Apple Insider, which cites a source. Apple intended to have the factory running by February, and it may be partly functional now, said the report, adding that a "support structure" has been created, adding to rumors that the project is expanding.
Essentially, the technology puts the phone's rear camera to use while a user is texting and walking, ideally preventing him from falling into a hole or stepping into traffic while walking and staring at his device.
"… The video images represent the views that the device's user would see if the device's display were transparent," Apple explains in the patent application. "The camera can continuously capture and present the video images as the background in the text messaging session, so that the device's user continuously can be aware of the environment beyond the device's display while still focusing on the text messages being communicated."