Should Apple make a larger iPhone?

“There has been chatter of late around Apple’s plans for the iPhone,” Ben Bajarin writes for TechPinions. “Some suggest they need to make a more affordable version of the iPhone.”

“The other speculation as of late is that Apple could make an even larger iPhone than the current 4” iPhone 5,” Bajarin writes. “This would fall into the larger phone category (some call it Phablets) and would give Apple a competitive iPhone for those who desire larger screens in the 4.7-5.5-inch range.”

Bajarin writes, “No matter how you slice it, I believe the time has come for Apple to expand the current iPhone line. This would mean releasing two or three current generation devices in the same year each targeted at different audiences… Although I think the idea of a more affordable iPhone is compelling, if I had to choose the strategy for either the more affordable iPhone or a larger screen size version for the first product to expand the lineup, I would choose the larger iPhone.”

Much more in the full article here.

Related articles:
iPhone 5S and 5-inch iPhone 6 to launch in 2013, source says – February 8, 2013
Scaling the interface for a 5-inch ‘iPhone Plus’ – February 3, 2013
Apple prepping ‘iPhone Plus’ with 5-inch display? – February 2, 2013
Apple to launch low-cost iPhone with 5-inch display for emerging markets in 2H13, sources say – January 8, 2013

68 Comments

  1. Sure. There’s clearly a need for it, just like there was a need for the iPad mini. Doesn’t entirely matter if it makes sense or not to product developers. If the consumers will consume it, and it adds overall growth to the bottom line, and you can do it in the usual (high) Apple quality and style, go for it. It’s just adding more ways into the Apple ecosystem.

    1. Agree! Apple need not bother with having a larger screen size if there were to be not competition, and all it needs to consider is the form factor that is best for consumer. But there is a Samsung with. larger screen size and there are consumers who prefer it, and this is already eating into Apple’s share of the market. It would be foolish to ignore this and stick one’s head into the sand and pretend that the world is only what Apple thinks it is.

      1. Deja vu…

        NETBOOKS
        But there is a — with smaller screen size and there are consumers who prefer it, and this is already eating into Apple’s share of the market.

        CHEAP PCs
        But there is a — with cheaper desktops and there are consumers who prefer it, and this is already eating into Apple’s share of the market.

        LARGE-SCREEN PORTABLES (over 19″)
        But there is a — with larger screen size and there are consumers who prefer it, and this is already eating into Apple’s share of the market.

        BLU-RAY
        But there is a — with built-in Blu Ray and there are consumers who prefer it, and this is already eating into Apple’s share of the market.

        1. There’s a difference.

          Netbooks and cheap PCs don’t count because they’re low-margin and would be contrary to Apple’s business. Even still, Apple address this with the MacBook Air and the Mac mini. Neither fully matched what people were asking for, but were successful because Apple made them in a way that still resulted in high margins.

          Large screen portables – I don’t recall seeing much of a cry for this. Apple *has* had portables up to 21″ and recently a 17″, but obviously withdrew these based on actual lack of demand. So the argument is really Apple should release something they already withdrew from the market for lack of demand, which doesn’t make sense.

          Blu-Ray – there’s no denying that some number of people went elsewhere due to lack of Blu-Ray support. At issue were the licensing nightmares and Apple simply not wanting to do this, not that adding Blu-Ray would’ve been a popular option and added to Apple’s bottom line.

          And for each one of your examples, there are examples of
          “Apple should release a video iPod”
          “Apple should release a flash iPod”
          “Apple should release an iPhone”
          “Apple should release a tablet”
          “Apple should release an iPad mini”

          All of these things were things that people were long crying for, often at the explicit denial of Apple before they released them.

          Here’s the thing, a larger iPhone has demand for it. A larger iPhone would be higher margin. People are going to other platforms because there is no larger iPhone. At what point, faced with all of this, does Apple not just go ahead and release a larger iPhone?

          I’m not sure “should” is the write phrasing here (or elsewhere), but “would it make sense” or “do you think Apple will” seems more appropriate.

          I think the answer is yes, unless there is a tidal shift back towards smaller phones, but we’re not seeing any signs of that.

        2. dude, there is obviously a market for it…

          So, i think they should go with a Phablet…
          Women carry purses… no problem…
          Some dudes have bigger hands…

          There are 3 types of iPods…
          Nothing wrong with 2 sizes of iPhones…
          They are already doing it… building 4, 4s and 5…

          In any case… i do see more Samsungs around than before…
          (it is a cheaper phone mind you… and the map app was over-blown)

          I think Apple is being deliberate in addressing different markets/countries before adding more to their plate.

          1. Is it any wonder that you see more Samsungs around than before?
            From a Costco ad:
            Samsung Galaxy S™ II -T-Mobile® – White, 4G Network
            Android™ 2.3.5 Gingerbread OS, 1.5 GHz Dual-Core processor, 4.5” Super AMOLED® Plus touch w/virtual QWERTY, 8.0 megapixel camera with 1080p HD video
            Free Activation, Shipping & Accessories
            Available:
            Online + Warehouse
            2-Year
            Retail Price $519.99, Online Discount ($519.98)
            Sell price $0.01
            * Data package required

            1. Larger phones are popular with people under 30 in particular. I certainly see it all the time. And I’d say that’s a pretty decent market if that’s all they had to sell too! And it isn’t. People over 30 want them also. I don’t understand why some fanboys here try to argue against logic. It makes no sense. It’s just plain stupid. Anyone can see that the larger iPhone would outsell the iPhone 5 if it was available now. And they could still sell the iPhone 5 at a cheaper price and also to fanboys with those small hands.

            2. This has got to be the DUH! statement of the month, if not year… Any new iPhone will outsell previous models!!! Apple will not release products that are WORSE than previous models.

            3. You avoid the topic. The topic is a larger iPhone. Not that a new iPhone won’t outsell the previous model. Hopefully it always will. However nothing is guaranteed. As in a stock-price continuing to go up forever. Right? So you completely ovoid the topic of the larger iPhone. I won’t call you a stupid fucking fanboy but I’m afraid I will have to say that that is the Duh statement of the year.

        1. A market of one?

          Market research has been done (quite extensively, actually). Minuscule percentage of non-iPhone users buy additional battery. Same goes for the memory card; vast majority keeps whatever came with the phone. As for large-screen Androids, they apparently aren’t as popular as some here may think; they are no more than 5% of Android market, and are first to get discounted.

          While each of us may have very justifiable needs, and from our perspective, such needs would be quite obvious, and therefore universal, we shouldn’t really jump to conclusions abotu the rest of the world.

          Apple apparently hit the sweet spot with features and screen size with their iPhone. If Android market is any guide, replaceable batteries, memory cards and tablet-size screens are more-or-less a wasted effort.

          1. Your argument makes no sense. Apple can’t sell what they don’t have. Right? BlackBerry won’t sell many large-screen phones this year either. Will they? No, because they’re a BlackBerry! But if Apple had the large iPhone they could sell them like hotcakes. I remember the same line of reasoning before the iPad mini came out. Tim Cook can talk all day long about hitting the sweet spot with the iPhone five but everyone knows that’s just because they don’t have a larger phone to sell. Your comparisons are flawed because they are incomplete. If Apple had it Apple could sell it! It’s as simple as that.

            1. “Your comparisons are flawed because they are incomplete. If Apple had it Apple could sell it! It’s as simple as that.”

              No. Not really. There is an incredibly important and powerful business principle, “Do not try to be all things to all people.” Said in another way, this becomes, “Speak only to your best prospects”.

              What you are saying is very much the same as was said about the markets Apple could tap if they made a super-cheap desktop, and was said about the super critical importance of Apple getting into the netcrapbook market. It’s just not worth it to try to address EVERYBODY’S desires.

            2. Like I said, if Apple had it Apple could sell it. I don’t know what part of planet earth you are on but a larger form factor iPhone is desired. Not by some small segment either. It’s not some niche market product. If you paid attention you would’ve noticed that Apple made fun of the smaller tablets. Until they had one ready. Then suddenly it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. It’s the same thing here, Tim Cook says what he has to say. “We have found the sweet spot”. What else can he say? They don’t have a fucking larger iPhone! As I’ve said before, when Apple brings this larger phone to market it will prove you and a few others wrong. The fact that they will bring it to market means that people want it. People want it now. And Apple is late to the table. They should have it now. What will you say when Apple starts selling a larger iPhone? Or will you try to justify it with some new angle? Either you’re right or I’m right. You can iCal this. I’ll be looking for your post when Apple starts selling the iPhone 6.

            3. Seamus is right. The iPad mini argument is flawed (the one where Apple enters a field where others have failed and succeeds because it does it right). The field of Android phones is fairly large (apparently, larger than iPhone). In that insular world, one can clearly observe the trends, as there are dozens upon dozens of different devices, made by several manufacturers, ranging in screen size, processor speed and price (from $60, all the way to $900 unsubsidised). In this large and diverse market space, there are devices of 5 inches (and larger). And these devices are selling poorly. Now, this is NOT because they are made by some Meizu, or Huawei, and sold at below $100. These are sold as flagship devices, presumably from top-tier makers (Samsung, HTC, etc). And yet, they are first to get discounted (“BOGO” offers), continuing to struggle to take more than single-digit market share in their own Android space.

              There is a very, very distant possibility that if Apple offered a 5″ device, it just might sell well. After all, at this point, Apple has such strong aspirational qualities, they will sell whatever they make, and it pretty good numbers. But all indicators (as well as some common sense) point to the fact that, for most people, 5″ is simply too big for a phone.

            4. You simply restated what you said earlier. It didn’t hold water then. It doesn’t now. So, you’re saying that Apple will not make a larger iPhone? Because if they do you’re obviously wrong. And if they don’t, I am obviously wrong. You can’t have it both ways. Right? If Apple makes a larger iPhone, (we’ll call it the iPhone 6) what will be your response then? What sort of reasoning will you come up with to justify Apple making a larger iPhone? Or will you admit you are wrong? If I’m wrong I’ll admit it. Something tells me that you and Seamus will have a problem doing the same. And you can iCal this one too.

            5. Yes, GM, I restated what I said earlier, and what we have here is two opinions: one, that Apple will make a 5″ (or larger) iPhone, and the other, that it won’t.

              I have provided arguments why Apple won’t bother. Your only one is the example of iPad mini, which I (as well as others, including Seamus here) have quickly and effortlessly refuted.

              So far, every single indication out there is that the market doesn’t really like large phones very much. If we compare this situation to pre-mini Android tablet market space, among Android tablets (admittedly, a fairly smaller market segment than the Android phone market), smaller tablets were as popular, if not more popular, than full-size, iPad-sized tablets. In other words, it was clear that the audiences out there were receptive to cheaper and smaller devices. While Android market is NOT necessarily a 100% reliable indicator for iOS, it correctly identified potential interest in a smaller tablet. Android phone market very clearly indicates LACK of interest in big phones. In other words, other than a few very loud geeks who clamor for large phones, NOTHING out there currently indicates that the people are going to love large iPhone. To make a large iPhone, Apple would essentially do a Jobsian thing and leap into the unknown, taking a big risk. They just might do this, and if they do, and this large phone takes off, I’ll be surprised. Then again, Apple has surprised all of us often before.

              So, to wrap this up, EVERYTHING out there points to the fact that people don’t really want big phones (except for a few very vocal geeks like us). For that reason, I think likelihood of Apple making one is extremely low. Will things change three years from now? Possibly. But in the next year or two, I don’t think Apple will go beyond the iPhone 5 size.

            6. Predrag : You simply rehashed everything from the other posts. Apparently it troubles you to think that you will be wrong. Especially when others see it. Doesn’t bother me. I’ve been wrong before. Looks as though you’re already trying to find wiggle room in case Apple makes the larger iPhone. That’s not allowed. You’re either right or you’re wrong. You’re not allowed to cross your fingers behind your back. Apple will make the larger iPhone. People do want it. It won’t take three years either. And good luck trying to spin things when Apple starts ramping up production on the iPhone 6. So as I said before, either your right or I’m right. And everyone will be able to see who is wrong.

            7. Predrag: Samsung Galaxy SIII screen size is 4.8″, close enough to call it a 5″ device. It’s selling pretty darn well, more than the iPhone depending on which market and which quarter you look at.

              The other makers and their 5″+ phones are irrelevant in this comparison. The others aren’t setting the trend in Android land, Samsung is, with 8 of the top 10 selling Android phones.

              So, this is a one-to-one comparison of the two leading companies and their respective flagship phone. One is 5″ (or close enough) and is selling extremely well, contrary to your assertion. The S3 accounts for 28% of the top 10 Android devices (http://www.androidauthority.com/localytics-samsung-top-10-android-devices-galaxy-s3-154757/)

              (actually, if you exclude tablets from that list, the S3 is probably past 33%)

              Whether it got sold at discount or part of BOGO is largely irrelevant as well, since every non-iPhone seems to go that route. Your point wasn’t profit margins (Apple is obviously king there), just consumer demand represented by number of sales/users.

              Is the 5″ screen the main reason people get the S3? Probably not. But it’s certainly not hindering it.

  2. Disagree. This was the whole point of Steve Jobs simplifying the product line when he returned to Apple. And while I can’t speak for anyone but myself, I find the iPhone 4S was the ideal form factor: satisfying size, weight and performance.

  3. Yes, Apple needs to have as many sizes of phones as Android. There should be a whole range of hardware chips too to produce really cheap iPhones for the poor too. Apple needs to spread themselves as thin as possible with as many SKU’s as they can. That is the ONLY way to success because they haven’t had any yet.

    1. Yeah, Apple only needs one size iPhone. Just as they only need one size iPad… or at least that’s what you said for months if not years on end before the iPad mini was introduced.

        1. How is the iPad mini exemplary of market chasing? It’s not like they just slapped together another widescreen 7″ tsblet. If anything it redefined what a small, lightweight tablet should be. There is literally nothing else like it on the market.

          No matter what, you can’t deny that the iPad mini fits well in the iOS lineup. You can’t deny that it’s a product with a purpose. And the same will be said of the iPhone Plus when it debuts. Unique, purposeful, high end product. No market chasing here.

  4. Apple needs to make iOS devices in one inch screen increments up to 30″, then go by 10 inch increments up to 100″.

    Perhaps then all these bloggers and analysts will stop bitching about needing a new size of iPhone, as if that will magically open up some far away, half-blind people who need a nearly 6″ iPhone screen.

  5. Sure, as long as the screen size difference does not create problems in app user experience nor a large problem for developers.

    That said, I’m not a believer that Apple needs to copy everyone else or chase every niche market.

  6. I think it’s a waste of resources for app developers and Apple. I’m average size and I still have to do some weird 1-handed flipping to get the far corner of the iPhone 5 while I commute back and forth on the subways/train.

    I do feel bad for those with larger hands, vision problems or those that like to carry their phone in their purse so they can use it with 2-hands, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

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