As iPhone 5 release date is nearing its rumored October tryst with destiny, the focus is on the phone’s screen size. The buzz is centered around whether iPhone 5 will have a 3.7-inch display or a 4-inch display. Here we sum up arguments favoring both camps -- those who think Apple will stick to smaller display and bank on better resolution and those who vouch for bigger display to take on competition.

4-inch Display

There are some strong reasons why Apple should go for a 4-inch or higher display on its iPhone 5, whose release date is one of the most anticipated events in the tech calendar for the remainder of the year.

With each passing year, models become larger and mightier, be it in automobiles or smartphones. Major smartphone manufacturers have set a trend of late, by releasing smartphones with screens ranging from 4 inches to 4.7 inches.

Apple would be in the minority if it were to go ahead with a smaller 3.5-inch display as in iPhone 4, or a slightly bigger 3.7-inch display.
Motorola, Samsung and HTC have all introduced smarpthones with 4.3-inch size, and the best-selling phones like Samsung Galaxy S2, HTC Sensation 4G, Samsung Droid Charge, HTC Thunderbolt, Motorola Photon 4G have a 4.3-inch screen. Even the highly anticipated Motorola Droid Bionic features a display of similar size.

So is there any credible indication that Apple could dump its grandstanding on better resolution and its awesome ability to offer better customer experience vis-a-vis Android competitors in order to compete with rivals on quantifiable terms? If it decides to do so, the next iPhone 5 will have a 4-inch display.

As always, case designs get leaked out ahead of the actual product launch and they offer vital clues to what the end product could look like. However, rumors based on case designs have to be taken with a pinch of salt as these have less credibility quotient. Recently, Italian blog MacityNet posted what seems to be an extensive set of photos of a purported iPhone 5 case.

This purported iPhone 5 case design showed that the next iPhone could be taller and wider than iPhone 4. If this is true, the display is going to be bigger as well. The leak also suggests iPhone 5 design would have more resemblance to the iPod touch than the iPhone 4 and that the edges and curves could align with iPad 2.

Tech Web site MacRumors, which has done tidy work in the past, has put together a rendition of iPhone 5 based on a case design leak. This also suggests that the iPhone 5 could have a 4-inch display.

Our designer took measurements of this imaginary device using the dock port as a standard measurement and produced the document shown above, the report says. Based on that extrapolation, they have concluded that if the case design is genuine, iPhone 5 could have larger display than iPhone 4.

If you believe these cases represent the final iPhone 5 design, then you also have to believe that the iPhone 5 will be much larger than the iPhone 4 and is certain to have at least a 4 screen, the report says.

3.7-inch Display

And what are the arguments in favor of more orthodox 3.7-inch display? Plenty it seems! The strongest hint suggesting that Apple could swim against the current and stick with smaller display size than rival handsets is the latest iOS 5 beta 7 that was released for developers.

This release revealed a picture of iPhone 5 based on Photo Stream icon featuring a 3.7-inch screen. According to it iPhone 5 would feature a rectangular home key, which differentiates itself from iPhone 4’s circular home key.

Apart from featuring a bigger screen, iPhone 5 looks slimmer in comparison with iPhone 4. In fact this is the second time that 3.7-inch display rumor has gained credibility and most probably this should be the next generation iPhone.

Most tech observers toeing this line believe that customers consider smartphones with 4.3-inch screen as too big and cumbersome. The second argument is that user experience is of the essence and not the mere screen size.

Recently a DigiTimes report said despite rumors of a bigger screen size, Apple could either stick with its 3.5 display or maybe slightly upgrade it to 3.7 inches. The site said that, according to its sources, Apple could adopt a design that will lead to a thinner bezel for the display panel, making the screen appear to be larger.

So could we conclude that even if the display is not materially going to be larger, the users could get better experience?