iPhone buyers yearning for a much bigger screen will get their wish next year, at least if a forecast from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek comes true.
After meeting last week with Apple suppliers in Asia, Misek issued a note to investors on Monday in which he said that the iPhone 6 would offer a 4.8-inch screen. If true, that would be a hefty increase over the 4-inch screen found in the current iPhone lineup.
Misek didn't reveal exactly what triggered his prediction, but he did note that the new screen size would drive a huge number of upgrades. Around 50 percent of smartphones shipped last quarter had screens larger than 4 inches, compared with just 20 percent a year prior.
"We think the 85M iPhones eligible for an upgrade when the iPhone 6 launches (we think Apple is targeting Sep 2014) could be boosted by another 5-10M from people who skipped the 5S/5C cycle," Misek wrote.
On the downside, iPhone 5C sales have been weak, according to Misek. As such, manufacturing builds are being slashed to 15 million to 20 million from 30 million, he said. On the plus size, that could lead to an even larger number of upgraders who gravitate toward the iPhone 6.
Misek's prediction isn't exactly a shocker since other reports have suggested an increase in screen size due for the next iPhone. The iPhone has lost significant market share to the large army of Android phones, which have grown in screen size. Apple raised the display size of last year's iPhone 5 to 4 inches from the prior 3.5 inches, so 2014 seems about right for another bump.
An informal survey of CNET readers conducted in August found that 60 percent wanted a screen 4.7 inches or larger in the next iPhone.