Tim Cook on 5-inch iPhone: Apple won’t make compromised phones like Android makers

“While there’s disappointment on Tim Cook’s hint that ‘exciting’ new products won’t debut until later this year, another big message was his critical view of Android devices — though he was careful not to make a direct criticism,” Jonny Evans reports for Computerworld.

Evans reports, “When asked if Apple intends pumping out a few 5-inch iPhones, the Apple CEO had this to say: ‘My view continues to be that iPhone 5 has the absolute best display in the industry. And we always strive to create the very best display for our customers. And some customers value large screen size, others value also other factors such as resolution, color quality, white balance, brightness, reflectivity, screen longevity, power consumption, portability, compatibility with apps and many things. Our competitors had made some significant trade-offs in many of these areas in order to ship a larger display, we would not ship a larger display iPhone while these trade-offs exist.'”

“While this suggests Apple won’t ship a larger iPhone until it can ensure adequate battery life and a decent display within a device of that size,” Evans reports, “it also suggests something else — that Apple believes its competitors have made compromises in product design.”

Read more in the full article here.

John Paczkowski reports for AllThingsD, “Apple’s not going to launch a five-inch iPhone until it’s good and ready. And until it does, it would like everyone to know that the current crop of five-inch smartphones, phablets and whatnot is substandard.”

Cook’s comment was “an almost Jobsian reply, opening as it does with a nod to Apple’s “we just want to make great products” doctrine, and ending with a deft sucker punch to the competition. But there’s quite a bit more at work here, as well,” Paczkowski reports. “Note that, for Apple, creating a bigger iPhone is not simply a matter of slapping a bigger display on a bigger chassis. It’s about building an entirely new device. And that requires a lot more nuance and a holistic approach that encompasses not just a flashy new display but accounts for the effects that display will have on everything from battery life to the App Store ecosystem. So when Cook slags Apple’s rivals for making trade-offs, he’s not just saying the displays on their devices aren’t what they could be. He’s saying that because they’re not what they could be, they compromise the entire device. He’s also saying that Apple won’t sacrifice quality for time to market… you’ll note that, in his remarks, Cook doesn’t explicitly rule out the idea of an iPhone with a larger screen. He left the door wide open.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
MacDailyNews presents live notes from Apple’s Q213 Conference Call – April 23, 2013


  1. And that is what separates Apple from everyone else. The copyists are all eager to fit into every niche available, but at a great compromise. And unfortunately people (consumers/investors) are only focused on specs. Apple is a buy in my book.

    1. Quite a few very price-conscious nerdy people will choose non-Apple devices EVERY TIME, after a thorough market study, hunting for specs. Since Apple doesn’t necessarily advertise all its specs, the Android device wins. BUT they probably haven’t tested the Apple device properly, otherwise they would swing the other way.

      1. There you have it. Apple could sell the most exquisite smart phone on the planet, but if consumers purchase an inferior product Wall Street rips Apple. Apple’s penchant for excellence in design does not match Wall Street’s partiality for gross sales. It’s bean counters versus techno-artists.

    2. Let’s face it. Apple is taking the difficult path, trying to uphold company ideals which Wall Street doesn’t think has any value. Samsung is a perfect company for Wall Street’s way of thinking. Copying products, building them faster with every configuration possible and selling those products for less than what Apple can. Does Apple really stand a chance of competing against Samsung? Wall Street doesn’t think so. At least not anymore.

      Samsung is going to attempt to destroy Apple within the next six months while Apple is on the Tim Cook sabbatical and that’s all there is to it. Samsung will flood the market with so many different model smartphones, Apple will be lucky to get any iPhone sales. At least that’s what I think will happen and that’s what I believe most investors are thinking. There will only be more doom and gloom hanging over Apple and the share price will fall even further.

      I’m sure there will be plenty of loyal Apple customers remaining, but there will be only a few new converts left for the next iPhone in September. I can’t see the future, but that’s how it feels to me seeing how things keep turning out.

      1. Maybe the investors who are holding the stock price steady have the same line of thought as you but are paying attention to all those “intent to buy” studies showing more and more intent to buy iPhone.

      2. @Laughing_Boy48 Well, since YOU think you know how things are going to happen and YOU believe this is how most investors are thinking, then I guess Apple should just shut its doors and call it a day and liquidate

        Of course, that’s because Apple and MOST investors were just waiting for you to post on MDN to confirm what they were already thinking.


  2. Why is this surprising anyone? Apple has never compromised quality throughout its products just for the sake of winning the spec sheet battle.

    I believe one of the deep, dark secrets of Android phone sales is that a large margin of those sales are simply to replace broken phones, or phones which cannot be upgraded to this year’s OS, etc. etc. And that doesn’t even include all the BOGO promotions.

    1. IF they do make an iPhone 6 with a bigger display, you can bet your retirement fund on Apple keeping the current display size on the iPhone 5. Not all of us want a bigger display.

      1. But my question is, what trade-offs are they talking about? If they are talking about one handed typing, then there will never be a 5 inch iPhone. And I think that is stupid to eliminate the chance of a larger screen desired by quite a few people because you can’t type with one hand. Typing with one hand is not that important to everyone.
        Apple, get a clue.

            1. But here is the point. Its not magic. Making a GOOD phone in a different size has business costs. Keeping tons of different size batteries in stock, and screens and cases and selling dozens of different sizes and iOS versions.. etc. It all cost money, time and people.
              Or you can do like Samsung. NO repair stock, NO customer service people, when they run out, you need to buy the NEW and improved phone… Then the next and next, all with different UIs and software versions. PS, lots of versions = ZERO upgrades or software fixes… WHY when you should just buy the next different one.

              If this sounds confusing, remember I only touched on 1/1000 of what it takes to have another model.


        1. Some trade-offs being (my guess):
          1. A bigger heavier phone
          2. Battery life
          3. Screen image quality
          4. A bigger heavier phone
          5. and, A bigger heavier phone

          I think most manufacturers can’t come close to the experience of an iPhone so they try to compromise by trying to over-spec and over-size their phones. The results and facts are clear that the iPhone is the hottest phone people can buy.

          1. Battery life? I would gladly buy a heavier and thicker phone to get better battery life because it ain’t so good on my 4S. And it shouldn’t take forever to make the adjustments needed to offer a larger screen. They don’t have to reinvent the entire phone. And I’m getting seriously tired of waiting, but have vowed to never buy a Samsung copy of anything. I hope I don’t have to eat those words.

          2. Your points are true only if Apple is making the phone. They’ve had battery life issues for years. You should go into a store and put your hands on an HTC One and see how a competent phone maker produces a phone with bigger screen, wonderful battery life (I’m going two days with heavy use between charges), superb screen quality (compared to the iPhone( and it’s thin and light weight.

            I need a bigger screen because of the pdf email attachments i have to read. With the iPhone I turn the phone sideways and have to scroll back and forth and up and down. It’s a total pain. With the HTC One there’s no horizontal scrolling anymore, just crisp high quality text to read. And you ought to hear music from its speakers or through the Beats Audio headphones that come with it. The iPhone is not even in the ballpark.

            1. I’ve owned no computers but macs since 1989. Lusted for the apple II in the early 80s — my high school buddies and I imagined that perhaps a woman’s breasts felt as good as that amazing keyboard (not THE SAME, but as good!). Got my first iPhone in week one, had iPhones ever since. Got iPad on day one, now have an iPad3.

              I say all that to put some perspective on this: I’m currently shopping ebay for a used Galaxy S3, because that’s how much I want a bigger screen. Not buying new — Samsung does NOT get my money — and it pains me to step away from the iPhone. But my 50-year-old eyes just can’t take the tiny screen anymore.

              I’m going with Ting.com service (sprint reseller) and keeping my iPhone service on At&t, because I may quite quickly change my mind. But I’m trying it out.

              This is NOT to say that Apple “should” make a bigger iPhone. I am a stockholder and I think Tim Cook has more data about this than I do. Apple should do what’s right for Apple. Screw the pressure.

              But I’m going for the bigger screen. I’ll let you know if the phone is tolerable.

            2. Have a look at HTCs offerings. for my money they are superior to Samsungs.

              The new HTC One that billy was talking about really is an excellent phone. The screen in particular is miles ahead of anything else I’ve set my eyes upon. It also has a system-wide text size setting if you want things to be a bit bigger.

              My last 3 phones have been HTCs and I’ve been really happy with all of them. I’ve also owned an iphone 3GS and currently have an iPhone 5 from my work. The new HTC is my favourite overal but as usual with stuff you read on the internet YMMV.

    2. Yup. And you know Apple will figure out any problems quickly. And you know consumers want it. So it is coming. And he just told you that. Sooner rather than later I hope. Talk about boosting the stock price!

  3. My view… That statement alone is a problem for me. Your view should be what potential and existing customers views are Mr. Cook. Obviously there is a market for larger screen phones and perhaps they should survey or take a general consensus to see what customers views are as opposed to his view.

    1. Lol…yeah, because they don’t have 100s of super qualified people creating, testing, using and providing feedback on their prototypes every day of the year.

      What planet are you from? Your logic is why Android is such a hot mess and why Samsung can’t pull a unified OS out of their asses.

      1. When Android was a piece of c**p a five inch competitor was meaningless. But Android and copieists have matured. So every new 5 inch phone is one less customer Apple is likely to pick up. A person who starts with a 5 inch phone that meets their basic needs and expectations isn’t likely to switch to a smaller iPhone. Lost customer, lost revenue.

        Two other considerations, females and older people. While the iPhone fits neatly into a shirt pocket, women tend to carry purses. A 5 inch phone is easier to find in a purse and, of course, there’s that bigger is better wow factor without a perceived size downside. And last I checked women are about 50% of the population.

        For older folks its defenitely about image size. A sharp small image is still fuzzy near sighted people. They may still use reading glasses on a 5 inch display but dont think image size won’t be a buying consideration.

        With all do respect to Jobs, a personal hero for near 30 years, not competing in a vibrant market segment when you could decimate it is a corporate blunder.

        1. Good coverage of the issues, but many of us here would disagree with the singular outcomes you report. *If* the 5″ screen meets their needs then of course they aren’t going to go for a smaller screen. But there’s no clear evidence that for a majority of 5″ purchasers that is true. (Nor is it clear it is untrue, I’m just saying you stopped short).

          Similarly, women don’t fall so simply into your single bracket. My youngest daughter is 14. Most of her friends have iPhone 5s (I hear about this every stinking day that I keep her to my old iPhone 3GS). But one of her friends has a Galaxy SIII and hates that it is so big. The lesson here is that she has plenty of opportunity to compare fit/finish between the SIII and the iPhone and she prefers the smaller size. I asked why and was told pants pockets, coat pockets… not hand size like I expected.

          With Samsung outspending Apple 12:1 in marketing (including bloggers to trash their competition) why are you so certain Apple could decimate Samsung?

          Don’t take the above as argumentative. When I look at what HTC and Samsung are doing from a design perspective, they are copying Apple design aesthetics very well so Apple clearly doesn’t have the only über-desirable product in the phone space, aesthetically speaking. I just don’t think your conclusions are as solid as you presented them. And I don’t think Apple has ever cared about cornering the market. The engineers at Apple that I know are more fascinated by rethinking product categories, and once that’s done they want to move on to the next thing to revolutionize. Sitting around and improving something endlessly is for the other engineers to worry about 😉

    2. That is precisely the thinking of the entire tech industry: focus groups, polls, surveys, asking people what they want. Jobsian Apple is wildly successful for NOT thinking that way (One of Steve’s favourite quote, from Henry Ford: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”).

      Consumers just don’t know what they want. Apple has so far been extremely successful at figuring it out.

      On an entirely different subject, it most certainly isn’t obvious that there is a market for large screen phones. Sales have so far only confirmed that a very small number of people actually think they want them, since Samsung has been pretty much the only one making them, the others very rarely going beyond 4 inches. Whatever Samsung made, they probably sold, as those numbers don’t represent a large percentage of the market.

  4. Apple does it by software. People forget the power of the cellular data capability in the iOS. With IMessage I get an iPad phone in the FaceTime. Why make customers pay twice. The iPhone size, the mini size and the full size iPad is all there is to it. Who needs a phone. IOs software is the key when people realize no need for a cellar phone line. If you want to talk to your friend let them be gifted with an iOS device. Samsung should beware of the Apple servers which to me is really the next best thing.

  5. I understand the logic with bigger screens. even if pixel density is the same on the larger phones. The issue is the resolution of the iOS ecosystem. the scaling has be a reasonable multiple and look good at the new resolution.

    Samsung and Android based systems don’t care if there are universal apps nor OS. They build what people can see…big screens.

  6. “competitors have made compromises in product design”

    Hardly brain surgery! At a recent family reunion I noticed an interesting trend:
    1.All the iPhone & BB users easily logged onto the WiFi networks while Samsung users struggled and failed over and over.
    2. The first thing BB and S3 users upon entering the house was search for an outlet to charge their dying device.
    3. iPhone users got on line and acquired internet info much faster in every single case, amid excuses of why the S3 user’s phone didn’t (IE: needs to be reset, provider sucks [on Wifi??], et al)

    1. Add to that list compatibility with the mobile web, where even the Mac is suffering the lazy weight of web developers who design for user agent: {iPod, iPhone, iPad} *knowing* not to even attempt Flash, and fail with user agent: {mac os x}

      I don’t know about you but I daily get sent a link to a page that won’t play on my Mac (Safari 6) but plays wonderfully on my iPad.

  7. Keep drinking the Kool Aid Timmy boy! I just got the HTC One and while I was in the store I did a comparison with the iPhone and found there was no comparison. The screen quality, stereo speakers and OS blow the outdated iPhone into the weeds.

    I seem to recall little Stevie Jobs spouting the same crap about the Apple II as IBM ate its lunch and a few years later the same about the Mac and how nobody needed a screen bigger than nine inches, nor did they need a numeric key pad or arrow keys to do spreadsheets. And we all know how well Stevie’s Kool Aid sold back then.

    1. “Apple II as IBM ate its lunch ”

      did you notice that IBM stopped making PCs a LONG time ago as it was losing money on it and Apple still makes billions of Mac?

      HP and Dell are also struggling Pc makers with apple making tens of times more money. HP is always thinking of abandoning PC like IBM. Also see Compaq, Gateway conquering the world?

      Mac takes 45% of the PC profits world wide (not even counting iOS iPad etc sales).
      who is eating whose lunch again?

  8. If the device itself is bigger you can fit a bigger battery inside it. Stick with the same screen ratio and you don’t have to fragment ios. Make the screen edge to edge with the same form factor and case manufacturers will be satisfied.. How hard is that?

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