The rumor mill has been grinding out this idea for ages: Apple (NAS: AAPL) will boost the screen size on the next iPhone.

You could dismiss it if The Wall Street Journal said it alone, maybe even write off a concurring Reuters report as a coincidence. But we've moved beyond that -- Bloomberg weighs in with the third independent confirmation, and this time we're told that Steve Jobs had a direct hand in the decision.

According to Bloomberg's anonymous sources, Jobs guided the design of the 2012 iPhone while on medical leave in 2011. And if Jobs put a personal stamp on this iPhone before passing away, I find it highly unlikely that Apple designers and engineers would override even the slightest of details in this legend's final product.

The new screens are allegedly already on order with a handful of Asian screen builders. The Journal drops a few names: Sharp, Japan Display, and LG Display (NYS: LPL) are supposedly in on this deal, but lead iPhone 4S screen supplier Samsung wasn't mentioned.

Moving to a 4-inch display from the time-honored 3.5-inch size might point to an all-new body design, but the rumormongers don't agree as much on that point. Some say there's an all-new aluminum and glass body on tap; others suggest that the larger display could be squeezed into the existing form factor if you just move things around a bit.

Either way, it looks like a done deal. Apple is going for a modestly larger screen this time, perhaps thanks to Samsung's success with the Galaxy S2 line of larger-than-4-inch smartphones. If nothing else, iPhone owners should appreciate a bigger screen for the increased precision in their Draw Something masterpieces. Then again, Zynga (NAS: ZNGA) might just regret buying Draw Something creator OMGPOP before the new iPhone arrives as the game becomes a gathering place for crickets and tumbleweeds.

The jury is still out on another size-related Apple rumor. I'm not convinced that we'll see a half-sized iPad tablet this fall. That product would be made even more unlikely if the iPhone is growing -- Apple isn't big on the idea of confusing users with too many product choices.

Apple kicked off the smartphone and tablet revolution and will remain relevant a while longer. But the iDevice giant faces some challenges as well. Read all about Apple's opportunities and risks in this premium research report on Apple from The Motley Fool. With expert insight, it could help you make the right decision on whether to buy or sell Apple right now.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies mentioned. Check out Anders' holdings and bio, or follow him on Twitter and Google+. The Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinion, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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Umm. Is it just me or does even the concept of having a 4 inch screen seem very dated? And who's injecting these rumours all of a sudden? Rene RITCHIE of iMore has been extremely accurate with his predictions. He said, that the iPhone will probably not get a larger sized screen. And on the remote chance it does, it'll top out no more than 4 inches.

I remember late 2010, early 2011 there was some buzz that the next iPhone [4S[ would sport a 3.8 inch screen based on template designs "leaked" I wouldnt be at all surprised if Apple does go with a 3.8 inch screen and markets it as a 4.0 and larger screen.

In any event, Apple simply can't get around the concept that bigger is really better. All other smartphone manufacturers have. Apple still hasn't realized this. A puny jump from 3.5 to 4.0 is meaningless. If they just go wtih a tiny 4.0 inch screen, they're only doing this just for the sake of marketing, not practicality or functionality. They can justify to everyone who's been waiting for a larger iPhone screen, that now it's here.

One more thing. Based on Apple's history, they'll very likely keep the same screen size for the next 5-6 years which is almost like infinity in today's smartphone market. Simply put,for this reason alone, I can see HTC and Samsung gain even more ground over Apple. As a result, we could slowly start to see profits drop at Apple as a result. Analysts may say, has the Apple fanbase peaked and onto a downward trend?

May 20 2012 at 4:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply