The Next iPhone: 4-inch Screen? Keyboard? Time Travel?

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I’ll be honest: Rumors of an iPhone that’s capable of facilitating time travel haven’t surfaced… yet. But there’s some new scuttlebutt regarding larger-screen versions and an apparent prototype with a slide-out keyboard.

The rumors pertain to the iPhone 5, which is widely expected to be announced in June during Apple’s developers conference. DigiTimes is reporting that “upstream component suppliers” have indicated that Apple’s next flagship phone will feature a 4-inch screen.

While an extra half-inch may not sound like much, the idea is for the “fifth generation iPhone to compete with the Google Android platform in the 4- to 7-inch smartphone market,” according to DigiTimes‘ sources. Yes, they’re apparently throwing 7-inch Android tablets into the mix.

It’s getting more difficult to find Android phones with anything smaller than 4-inch screens nowadays so the rumor could hold some water, especially if the rumored cheaper, smaller iPhone model turns out to be real as well.

However, that’d mark a departure for Apple in the sense that it’s always released one iPhone model at a time. If the company announces a 4-inch iPhone and an iPhone that’s two-thirds to half the size of the current model, as the rumors suggest, then what’s to stop Apple from introducing another 3.5-inch model to bridge the gap?

Releasing three different iPhone models at the same time doesn’t really seem to jive with Apple’s focus on simplicity, but the iPhone 4 is now on two (two!) networks and the nearly infinite choices of Android form factors may be applying some downward pressure.

And yet another batch of rumors indicate “that Apple has built three prototype models for its anticipated ‘iPhone 5,’ and one of them has a ‘sliding cover’ that conceals a keyboard,” according to AppleInsider.

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