For Apple, a bigger iPhone has never been more crucial

“I don’t mean to sound alarmist, but 2014 could well be the year that Apple makes its biggest mistake in recent history,” Gareth Beavis writes for TechRadar. “”

“No, I’m not talking about the iWatch – I still think that could actually be rather good,” Beavis writes. “No, Apple has to, HAS TO, bring out a large screen version of the iPhone or it’s going to really struggle to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world. The phablet, like it or loathe it, is here to stay.”

Beavis writes, “Stats from IDC last year showed that one in five smartphones were a large screen option – that’s 20% of the market that Apple is unable to capture.”

MacDailyNews Take: Not necessarily. Some portion of that 20% are too stupid, blind, or pathologically anti-Apple to have ever purchased an iPhone, regardless of screen size.

This is not to say that Apple, the world’s most valuable tech company, rolling in more billions of dollars than they know what to do with, shouldn’t have a larger screen iPhone available by now. They should. It’s criminal malpractice on the part of Tim Cook that they don’t. The sales Apple have left and continue to leave on the table should have been keeping Phil Schiller up at night for at least the last year.

Yes, Apple should have a bigger iPhone yesterday, but this is just simple logic: Not all phablet owners would have bought an iPhone even if a bigger iPhone was available.

“In markets like China the larger screen device is becoming a real must-have handset, and with lots of potential subscribers there, Apple has to throw away its pride (having maintained for years that 4-inch displays are big enough) and start playing in the big-screen leagues,” Beavis writes. “I’m not saying Apple should lose the 4-inch option – this is something that I’m happy to see on the market, as we should have choice as consumers. I can’t count the amount of people moaning at me that ‘phones are getting too big these days.’ But the clock is ticking. If Apple doesn’t end 2014 with a phablet in its ranks, then all its efforts to crack the Asian markets, as well as ticking the box of power users looking for an upgraded experience, will be for nothing.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We understand fragmentation. We understand the issues of producing apps that work on devices with various screen sizes (intimately).

None of it matters because too much of the market wants an iPhone with a bigger screen. Developers will simply work harder for the premium customers found on the premium platform. Period.

This omission – not iMacs and Mac Pros that miss Christmas or anything else – is Tim Cook’s biggest mistake to date. Apple should have a bigger iPhone on the market by now, but since, for some inexplicable reason a company with more cash at their disposal than Intel Corp. is worth doesn’t, the sooner the better.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]


  1. … and a few years ago it was also crucial that Apple should offer a Netbook too. Huge numbers of them were being sold by every company not called Apple, so if Apple didn’t produce a Netbook, they would be doomed.

    But Apple still didn’t produce a Netbook.

    1. Can’t remember the last time I saw an actual working netbook. But I did see a fat Dell laptop with a parallel port at a coffee shop recently. Old people.

      1. Von’s supermarkets (a division of Safeway) have netbooks on a table for people to get their coupons. Totally unusable, I hope this isn’t an example of what Von’s thinks of quality.

    2. “But Apple still didn’t produce a Netbook.”
      And they did, of course, produce the iPad – which completely annihilated the “oh so crucial” netbook sector.

    3. Um, a MacBook Air is pretty much an expensive and very good “netbook”. Obviously the iPad killed the netbook but the MB Air really fits what netbooks were meant to be aside from cost factor, ultra portable thin, light etc. but of course infinitely better.
      And BTW, certain netbooks were really great for one thing, building hackintoshes !

      1. Exactly! When netbooks came out, I was dragging around a 17″ MacBook Pro, and was very attracted to them, but when I took a closer look, I realized how crappy they were. I was thinking I could deal with Windows if it was just for light travel work on a netbook, but nope, they were all crap.

        Now I have an 11″ MacBook Air, and it’s exactly everything I wanted in a netbook, and more. Sure, I could’ve spent $300 for a piece of plastic crap that I would struggle to use for a few months, or I could spend $1K+ and get an incredibly productive machine that I would use extensively for years.

  2. This has been Apple biggest mistake. There is no denying putting an iPhone next to some other devices makes the iPhone look like a wimp with it’s little screen. They don’t even have to make the device bigger just use more real estate for the screen. You have multiple size computers and iPads, why not the most popular and profitable product?

    1. Well..IMO those Galaxy phones look ridiculous. They’re now the size of an iPad mini and force you to keep it in your hand at all times because it won’t fit in a pocket. You look like a douche.:)

  3. What would a bigger iPhone do that the iPad mini cannot already do? Just because an iPhone can be made bigger doesn’t mean it should be made. I don’t want to use a device where I have to use two hands or would have to do hand acrobats. The current iPhone screen size is a perfect form factor in my opinion for people on the go.

    1. Umm… make cellular telephone calls? As someone pushing 60, I wouldn’t mind having just a bit more screen real estate; my 5s is very good, but I’d certainly look at a slightly larger form factor.

        1. “Fit in your pocket” – Exactly!

          These large phone are silly in my opinion. I hope Apple never goes that route, or if they do, I hope they fragment the iPhone and keep a svelte version. I have an iPad if I need a bigger screen. My iPhone is for ultimate portability.

          My son in law was complaining about how he thinks Apple missed the boat and doesn’t make the iPhone’s screen large enough. He has a Samsung S3 and even wishes it had a larger screen. Well he was using his brand new Kindle Paperwhite the other day, he said he really like the size and wanted a smartphone of the same size. I told him it would become a problem when he went to put it in his pocket. He said “no it won’t see”, and proceeded to carry it in his back pocket on our outing that day. In the middle of the day he pulled it out to use it and the screen had been flexed or something as it was no longer refreshing on half of the screen. Broken! Large phones and devices are just not pocket friendly. Pockets bend, large devices don’t. Small devices don’t either, but because they are small they are not subjected to devastating forces. Simple physics of levers.

    1. Yes, really. I personally know at least 6 friends, family, co-workers who’s rather have an iPhone, but went Samsung for the larger screen. If I know 6 people myself, just extrapolate from there.

      Apple’s Tim Cook certainly has committed criminal malpractice.

      1. Yes Tim is criminal. I personally know 100 people that want a 50 inch Holographic projector and a 30 day battery in a smaller package.

        Shame on him!!!! /s

        1. Larger screen smartphones exist. There is proven demand for them. Much proven demand (see IDC data). “Regular Reader” alone knows of six sales Apple has blown. Hell, I know of easily 10+ more myself.

          Your example does not exist. You therefore offer no proof of even a single sale that Apple has blown.

          Before posting your next comment, you should try perusing “Debating for Dummies.”

          1. There is proven demand for them. Maybe but the usage numbers tell a different story, the demand is there but usage stats are still with the lowly iPhone and it’s small screen. I prefer my iPhone 5s and iPad in tandem small and extra proratable to hold next to my head and cary everywhere and larger with more screen for the times that I need that.

          2. By the way, Mr. “First”, an Ad Hominem attack is the weakest form of debate that exists and only proves that your argument is so flimsy that it cannot stand without having to insult your opponent. You’ll find this information in Chapter 1 of “Debating for Dummies”.

          3. “Before posting your next comment, you should try perusing “Debating for Dummies.”

            And maybe you should try perusing “Debating Politely for Assholes”.

          4. So, it appears every iPhone owner knows 6-10 people who would buy a larger iPhone.

            400 million iPhone owners (# pulled from my ass) times say, 8.

            Shit, Cook is leaving 3.2 billion sales on the table!.

      2. So Tim Cook should be put in prison because your friends, family and co-workers want a larger screen and he hasn’t produced one for them? I suppose Santa also should go to jail when he doesn’t give you the presents you want. He leads the world’s largest corporation in the world by market cap, with the largest cash pile, the innovation leader in technology and the most valuable brand in the world, yet the clowns on this site want to indict him.

    1. Pro? See, this is one of the big reasons I’m resistant to Apple releasing a large iPhone in tandem with the existing size. I want most passionately to continue using an iPhone of the current size, and I’m afraid that the large one, if it’s released, will become the “Pro”, so to speak, the model with the newer and more advanced features, leaving me behind with a second tier phone. I would argue, however, that those of us who prefer the smaller form factor are as often as not the power users who really push our iPhones to the limits of their abilities. If I heard word from Apple that they planned something along the lines of a Phablet, but that it would have total feature, capacity, and hardware parity with the current form factor, much in the way that the iPad Air and Retina Mini compare today, then I would relax, and more readily welcome another size to the iPhone family. The point is that bigger is ONLY better for that specific crowd to which it appeals, and for the rest of us, it’s an inconvenience and a detriment to both usability and portability.

    1. Meaningless. Too much of the market wants larger iPhone screens. It can go in a jacket pocket or a purse, etc. The market is proven and Apple is ignoring it for no good reason.

      It’s very simple: The negatives of a little more fragmentation do not come even remotely close to outweighing the benefits of addressing the demand for an iPhone with a larger screen.

      1. Obviously. Just look at MDN’s poll. Currently 75% of hard-core Apple users, currently, want a larger screen iPhone than exists today. This proves that Apple is well behind the curve on this.

        Wakey, wakey, Timmie!

      2. Or it could just be that Apple is avoiding big screens for reasons that have to do with research into usability. For example, I can swipe and unlock my iPhone 5 with my left thumb alone, but it barely reaches all of the numbers. On a larger screen I would have to use both hands to do what I can do now with one. Perhaps Apple understands that not all humans have giant man-hands.

        1. I happen to have giant man hands, and vision issues which make it hard for me to read tiny text on my iPhone screen without taking off my glasses, but I still do NOT want a larger phone. That’s what my iPad is for.

  4. Throw away their pride, please. Apple can afford to take their time and get it right. Could they have sold more phones if they had a larger display, probably but it hasn’t exactly hurt them either.

    Hopefully they will release a larger 4.5” to 5” phone with a smaller bezel to keep the overall size of the phone down.

    As far as Apple saying 4-inches is perfect that’s called marketing. As soon as they have the hardware ready and optimise iOS for larger screens you’ll soon see them change their tune. Apple does this sort of misdirection all of the time to keep things moving along.

    Just another anal-yst touting Apple is doomed, slow and steady always wins the race.

    1. You have no data to support the idea that not having a larger screen iPhone on the market hasn’t hurt Apple.

      In fact, the data that shows 20% of the market already have larger screen phones, directly proves that not having a larger screen iPhone on the market most certainly has hurt Apple.

      1. How much of that 20 percent of the market bought what they bought instead of an iPhone, specifically because it had a bigger screen, AND hasn’t come to regret the trade-offs in one-hand usability and ease of carrying on one’s person? How many of those large screen phones are on carriers who don’t offer iPhones? How many were pushed by salesmen with cash incentives from Samsung or others to downplay the advantages of the iPhone and sell Android? How many were purchased by those who willfully avoid Apple products at all costs? Certainly, Apple has lost some sales, but I don’t think the numbers are nearly as large as you imagine. Samsung Galaxy S4 sales have withered. Big phones do have an audience, but it may not actually be growing, so much as the huge phone, or phablet market is developing. Apple might do better to incorporate phone abilities into the iPad Mini than to bloat the size of the iPhone.

      2. It doesn’t PROVE anything of the sort.

        It might suggest that its absence has cost Apple some sales, although there is no proof of that since – read the article – those phablet purchasers might never have considered an iOS product anyway.

        Even if its absence has cost some sales (which seems likely to me), it doesn’t PROVE that it has hurt Apple. The engineering resources and management commitment required for a larger-screened iPhone may well have been better employed elsewhere – on the 5S and 5C, for example.

      3. It doesn’t prove anything because the high-end Android market does not have any smaller screened choices. All of the 4″ and under Android smartphones are gimped. The inverse to your argument would be how many of those customers would have opted for a smaller phone if a high-end Android option was available?

    1. A sane voice. The 4S was the optimum size for one-handed use, as intended by design, and a thinner phone in that format would suit a lot of people better than the 10 cm screen, which requires more effort. Larger phones are for two-handed use but appeal to those – e.g. older people with the inevitable presbyopia issues – who like a larger display to see and navigate, albeit two-handed. (I’ve watched people using galaxy notes with flip covers: the ergonomics, the colours and the display are shockingly bad but the punters seem to like it that way!)

      I think the MSN take is bollocks since Apple is not about covering the market in order to prevent others from finding one. It’s about selling products people find a delight in using. If a two-hander phone can deliver that then they might produce one, but aren’t obliged to.

  5. I’m one of those who has defended the current size iPhone as great but different strokes for different folks and Apple should accommodate those who live or die by phablets. It’s definitely time for a larger iPhone while keeping the current size as well. Apple branded choices within the brand can only grow the brand.

    The best thing is we no longer have to hear from the Android clueless just watch as their mouths sit agape as Apple pulls way head and makes improvements Android can’t touch anytime soon.

      1. Making a larger phone is not catering to the bottom of the market, it’s having a diverse line of product to suit everyone’s taste. I’ll betcha many of the 4″ size radical proponents here confronted with a 4.7″ or 5.5″ iPhone in their hands will start waffling, weakening and buy it. Because Apple when they do it will make it irresistible. But not all, some may have the courage of their 4″ convictions.

        1. “and Apple should accommodate those who live or die by phablets”
          “a diverse line of product to suit everyone’s taste”

          I’d suggest not. A core principle of strong business is, “Do NOT try to be all things to all people.”
          Maybe a larger screen would be useful, but not for those reasons, stated as principles.

          1. So I have to tiptoe around reasons for Apple to have a larger iPhone? That’s ridiculous. Having a diverse line in Apple’s case is only a couple of basic different sized models with storage, WiFi and service provider variations. Price alone says it won’t be all things to all people. It means premium customers will get the phone they want while adding new ones.

  6. I have a 5s and a Note 3 and I can say they are both great devices but I find the screen size and the widgets of the Note 3 much better for reading and watching Movies, looking at photos etc. The market is moving way quicker than Tim Cook moves and he needed to have a 5 inch phone 16 months ago. He has hurt Apple shareholders with his slow pace and his moonie like adherence to the 4 inch form factor.

    1. I agree, I have all apple products except for my phone, which is a pain. I changed my iphone to a Galaxy Note as it is much better as a smart phone which is largely because of its bigger size. I hear all the comments about not fitting in pockets or using with one hand is difficult, but that is not true, I have normal sized pockets and hands and it really is no problem. You get used to it very quickly and the benefits are massive.

      I do not want an Ipad Mini instead of a phone either, that really does not fit in my pocket for sure. Give me a “Note sized” iphone and i will be happy to have a full house of Apple products again.

  7. OK heres the thing ! If apple can come out with the I-Pocket to keep it in it will sell the phone is the right size BUT the new os is hard to read for us over 50 , I have been trapped in I tunes while driving several times being led into a path i did not exactly choose apparently Johny Ives has a phobia for back buttons and seems to have left them out of the os but in back buttons and arrow keys on the keyboard (sorry the taping the cursor to go back is not working for me on edits) heaver text and the stuff above and we don’t need no stinking fablets!

    1. You can make the Text Heavier Bold in settings – it makes a Huge difference. J Ives design decisions for the new iOS were baffling. Ugly App design and Colors for Books, FaceTime etc. and thin font when the screen was already too small.

  8. 1 in 5 is large screen, but the other day there was a report saying that large numbers of smartphones aren’t used as such. What’t the overlap? Just because people are buying them doesn’t mean they’re using them and/or are any more happy with them than they would have been with a smaller one.

    I’m not saying they should or shouldn’t, but none of these people calling for them ever come up with in depth analysis of all the factors. They just quote one statistic in isolation, just like they do with all their other proclamations of Apple’s doom.

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