This is how a 4.7-inch iPhone 5 would measure up against 3.5-inch iPhone 4

In case you haven’t noticed, a rumored Fall release of iPhone 5 is being preceded by the usual media brouhaha. Is Apple going to release its next handset in September? How about October? Maybe they’ll gradually bring the device to market over the course of both months? Has the company already field-tested the gizmo in June? And if the phone is already in production, how come carriers are only now getting prototypes in sealed boxes? Do case leaks mean a ringer switch has been repositioned to the opposite side? And what’s with those iPhone 4 price cuts at Target and Radioshack and AT&T vacation blackouts?

Disregarding all of the above for a second, what exactly about Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone is going to blow our socks off the most? If you ask Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu, it’s the large display combined with an even thinner profile than iPhone 4:

It turns out that we are picking up that this interim iPhone refresh in the Fall timeframe could be a bigger upgrade than we expected. We believe this makes sense to improve the iPhone experience without making it too bulky as we have seen with models from competitors.

But what exactly is ‘bulky’ these days? Are we talking a few millimeters larger display or ‘Android superphone bulky’? Italian-language MelaBlog.it did a cool side-by-side comparison of the current-generation iPhone 4′s 3.5-inch display and the rumored iPhone 5 at various display dimensions. An iPhone 5 with a 4.3-inch display would require a frame wider and taller ten millimeters than that of the iPhone 4, while keeping the same 9.3 millimeter profile. Reducing the display edges “to a minimum” - that’s an edge-to-edge display for you – could allow Apple to engineer a monstrous 4.7-inch device, as depicted in the above drawing. There’s just one problem, though (plus, a cool reader mockup below the fold)…

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Upcoming: Apple iPhone 4 16GB Smartphone for AT&T, $50 GC for $197 in-store

From the Toys section:

Starting December 18, Walmart retail stores will offer the Apple iPhone 4 16GB Smartphone for AT&T Wireless bundled with a $50 Walmart Gift Card for $197 with activation of a new 2-year plan. (This offer will not be available online.) Provided you use the credit, it’s the best price we’ve seen on this phone, outside of promotion from RadioShack two weeks ago. (RadioShack stores offered this model for as low as $24 upon trading in an older iPhone, since expired.) Sales tax is added where applicable. It features an Apple A4 processor, 326-ppi (pixel per inch) Retina 3.5″ display running at 960×640, gyroscope, front- and rear-facing cameras, 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, 720p video capture at 30 fps, 802.11n wireless networking, dual microphones, and more.