“Facing competition from rivals offering smartphones with bigger screens, Apple Inc. plans larger displays on a pair of iPhones due for release this year, people familiar with the situation said,” Lorraine Luk, Eva Dou and Daisuke Wakabayashi report for The Wall Street Journal. “The people said Apple plans an iPhone model with a screen larger than 4½ inches measured diagonally, and a second version with a display bigger than 5 inches. Until now, Apple’s largest phone has been the 4-inch display on the iPhone 5.”

“Both new models are expected to feature metal casings similar to what is used on the current iPhone 5S, with Apple expected to scrap the plastic exterior used in the iPhone 5C, these people said,” Luk, Dou and Wakabayashi report. “They cautioned that Apple’s plans weren’t final and that the company could change course. The smaller of the two models is further along in development, and is being prepared for mass production, the people said. The larger-screen version is still in preliminary development, they said.”

“The plans for larger iPhones come as Apple is losing market share to rivals who offer bigger screens. Those models have proved popular as more people use the handsets to play games, watch video or surf the Web. Samsung’s 5-inch Galaxy S4 and 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3 are among its best-selling models,” Luk, Dou and Wakabayashi report. “Apple’s plan to scrap the plastic casing for its new models comes amid reports from suppliers that Apple is scaling back orders for the 5C because of weaker-than-expected demand. The 5C, which was released in September, carries much of the same hardware specifications as its predecessor, the iPhone 5, but with colorful plastic cases. Analysts have cautioned about reading too much into initial demand for the 5C because early adopters were expected to choose the more expensive, 5S model. Demand for the less expensive 5C was projected to pick up after the holiday shopping season.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote just this morning:

When Apple finally extracts their collective head from their collective ass and ships iPhone models with larger screens, they’ll do more damage to slavish copier Samsung than all of their endless, plodding patent infringement cases combined.

We believe that Apple became infatuated with the fact that only they could produce small, thin smartphones with an efficient OS that could work with the small batteries that these compact iPhones housed. “Nobody else can do such things.” Meanwhile, battery-hogging Android leeches like Samsung slapped larger screens on their phones to hide the fact that they needed significantly larger batteries in order to run for even a few hours (Android phones are notorious for running out of charge).

Far too many otherwise intelligent consumers saw little or nothing of Apple’s considerable engineering superiority (the iPhone 5s is simply the best smartphone anyone has ever produced), these otherwise intelligent consumers only saw iPhone’s smaller screens. They didn’t see Android’s inefficiency or inferior ecosystem, they only saw phones with larger screens.

If we’ve heard from one person who went with an Android phone for a larger screen who in fact really wanted an iPhone – “I’d have gotten an iPhone if only they had a larger screen” – we’ve heard it from a thousand. These are top tier, cream-of-the-crop customers (i.e. Apple’s target demographic), not low information cheapskates. They want to be Apple customers and participate heavily in Apple’s ecosystems, but, for a few years now, Apple has been blowing these sales by failing to deliver the product these high value customers desired. It’s inexplicable; any downsides (fragmentation, inventory management, etc.) are vastly outweighed by the vast sales potential to those who should be Apple customers, but are now carrying a plastic piece of crap from Samsung.

Bottom line: Apple screwed the pooch on this one. Shit or get off the pot, Tim.

MacDailyNews iPhone screen size poll

Source: MacDailyNews

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers "Fred Mertz" and "Dan K." for the heads up.]

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