Next-gen iPhone could boast 4-inch display, 16:9 aspect ratio

The various rumors, reports and speculation about Apple’s next-gen iPhone seem like a never-ending story.

The latest? The iPhone “next” will reportedly boast a high-resolution retina display that measures 4-inches, which is considerably larger than Cupertino’s current 3.5-inch iPhone screen.

According to KGI analyst Mingchi Kuo, Apple’s new and improved iPhone will launch later this year.

As noted above, the current iPhone sports a 3.5-inch screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio.

Yet Kuo believes the new iPhone will feature a four-inch 16:9 aspect ratio, along with a resolution of 1136 x 640 and 500-nit brightness.

“We expect iPhone 5 to feature a 4.08-inch in-cell IPS panel screen with a display resolution of 1,136 x 640 and 500-nit brightness,” Kuo wrote in an industry research note.

Kuo believes the screen specs offer a compromise between the value Apple places on operating an iPhone with a single hand and being backwards compatible with iOS apps. Indeed, the analyst says Apple didn’t move to a 4.3-inch display precisely because it would be too unwieldy for single-handed use. Of course, a 4.3-inch screen would also require a significantly larger and heavier battery pack.

The trick for keeping usability of existing applications? Kuos says the new iPhone has the same horizontal resolution as the current iPhone 4S. Nevertheless, the larger iPhone 5 screen could have black bars on each side – similar to HDTVs and 4:3 aspect ratio programs – when using existing apps.