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Battery-production problems delay anorexic 5.5-inch 'iPhone Air'

Don't know about too rich, but apparently you can be too thin

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The challenge of developing a battery slim enough for a 5.5-inch iPhone, nicknamed (暱稱) the "iPhone Air" by the parts-supply industry, may push that handset's introduction back until next year.

So reports the Chinese-language news service Commercial Times (Google Translate). The same article also reports that a 4.7-inch iPhone is on track for release in the second half of this year.

Earlier this month, The Reg reported that supply-chain sources had said that the 5.5-inch iPhone would be delayed due to production problems with thin in-cell touch sensor displays at that size. Tuesday's report of "technical difficulties" (技術難) in manufacturing ultra-thin batteries adds a new wrinkle to the cause of the delay.

Perhaps both reports are correct. Perhaps neither. The Cupertinian oracle is silent.

According to the Times, a standard smartphone battery is 2.8 to 2.9mm thick, but Apple is asking suppliers to provide a battery 2mm or less in thickness – quite a headache (頭痛), the Times says.

The combination of a 2mm battery and a thin in-cell touch sensor display such as is used in the iPhone 5, 5s, and 5c would certainly justify the nickname iPhone Air. Of course, what Apple ends up calling such a device is anybody's guess, but the MacBook Air and iPad Air does seem to be doing quite well, thankyouverymuch.

Should the 5.5-inch iPhone – Air or not – eventually become a reality, it will be interesting to see what effect it may have on sales of the iPad mini, which has a 7.9-inch IPS display with a resolution of 2048-by-1536.

After all, with handset gaming and video viewing being increasingly popular use cases for large-screen smartphones such as Samsung's 5.1-inch Galaxy S5 and 5.7-inch Galaxy Note, the added convenience of including telephony might orphan the iPad mini. ®

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