As Apple prepares to unveil both a new high-end iPhone and a cheaper version for the first time next week, it is already working on something bigger. The electronics giant has begun evaluating a plan to offer iPhones with screens ranging from 4.8 inches to as high as 6 inches, people familiar with the matter say. That would be a sizable leap from the 4-inch screen of the iPhone 5 released last year, and, at the upper end, would be one of the largest on the market.This time around, I tend to believe the rumors.
I know that I have always said that you should ignore Apple product rumors until and unless the new hardware leaks, but that was before Apple's last quarterly report revealed less than spectacularly impressive news.
Apple still made a lot of money, but for the first time in a long while Apple's sales figures decreased and their profits dropped. Apple still had huge profits, but I think the drop may goad them to try to restore their former glory by releasing more iPhone and iPad models.
That's exactly what I suggested when that quarterly report was released:
This report might spur Apple into actually releasing an iPad Maxi (like the rumors say). Apple might want to boost their bottom line by adding a new and larger iPad, and hang the damage it does to a partner. And this same report could spur Apple to release those iPhones with different screens sizes. I didn't believe the rumors, but now?
I think this would be a terrible idea, but I also think Apple could choose this path. It would dilute the brand and increasingly fragment the marketplace into multiple screen geometries, but it is entirely possible that Apple will decide that increased revenue is more important.
There's clearly a growing market for phablets, and Apple is missing out. The largest iPhone only measures a measly 4" while Android smartphone can be found in a wide variety of sizes ranging from 5" to 7".
I also think this is a bad idea because the latest info from Flurry suggests that phablets are still a tiny fraction of the mobile device market. Smartphones with smaller screens like the current iPhone are 24 times as common as phablets. If Apple did release a phablet they would be pursuing a market segment that would probably never be as large or as profitable as the current iPhones.