However It Looks Apple iPhone 5 Needs to Be a Hit

Not a day goes buy without at least five or 10 stories being written about the iPhone 5 based on this "leak" or that rumor. Today's hearsay and conjecture is that the new handset will have a smaller than 4-inch screen. However earlier rumors said the opposite: that it would feature a larger screen, possibly with an "edge to edge" display larger than 4 inches. 

One way to reconcile these two stories/rumors is by invoking yet another Apple rumor -- that there will be not one but two phones coming out: one for the post-paid and one for the pre-paid markets. It seems unlikely that there will be two new iPhones. Regardless the "flagship" probably isn't going to have a screen smaller than 4 inches. 

Earlier this year NPD group found that handsets with screens measuring 3.5 to 3.9 inches had flat sales volumes (other than the iPhone). But those handsets with screens larger than 4 inches saw significant gains in market share in Q4 2010. According to NPD, the five best-selling handsets with screens over 4 inches were the following:

  1. HTC EVO 4G
  2. Motorola Droid X
  3. Samsung Fascinate
  4. Samsung Captivate
  5. Samsung Vibrant

The iPhone currently has a 3.5 inch screen. So I suppose it's possible to increase the screen size and still come in below 4 inches.

Regardless, of the precise dimensions of the screen, the iPhone 5 needs to be a meaningful improvement over iPhone 4. There are too many Android phones coming out all the time for iPhone 5 to be merely a modest, incremental update -- given that it's only updated once a year.

Tim Cook & company don't have the luxury of messing up this one. They need to "hit it out of the park."