Apple plans pair of iPhone with bigger screens; 4.5-inch and over 5-inch models coming, sources say

“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.]

Related articles:
Analyst: Apple’s iPhone 6 ‘locked down’ with 4.8-inch Retina display – January 22, 2014
Will Apple increase display resolution or just use bigger pixels to deliver larger-screen iPhone 6? – January 17, 2014
Jefferies analyst Peter Misek claims Apple’s iPhone 6 will offer a 4.8-inch Retina display – October 7, 2013
Analyst: Apple’s next-gen smartphone ‘iPhone 6′ will have a larger screen – November 20, 2013


  1. Funny so now we’ve heard that every size iPhone imaginable is coming out this year from Apple – 4.5″, 4.7″, 4.8″, 4.9″, 5″, 5.7″, 12.7″ I mean REALLY. A bigger phone is coming I think we can safely say but what say we just wait to find out?

      1. That’s all important, but not nearly as important as what people want. Right or wrong, if people want something, Apple should supply a product to answer that want.

        According to the following article, 4.5-4.9-inch were already significantly more popular than the phones in the 4.0-4.4-inch category the iPhone 5/5s/5c would occupy – way back in Q2 2013. Looking at the graph, it’s clear where the trend is going. It’s not a totally fair comparison since the phones with larger screens also have other better features, but obviously a LOT of people prefer phones with larger screens.

      2. What was the percentage of smartphones with 3.5 inch screens in 2006?

        None of what you said will matter until Apple introduces a big screen phone that runs iOS. Since when do the past failures of companies preclude Apple from doing the same thing but better? That is the very definition of Apple. The reason I and millions of others haven’t purchased big screen smartphones is because they aren’t iPhones!

        Let’s revisit those questions after the iPhone 6/iPhone Plus takes the world by storm.

    1. They have it all wrong. Apple is going to make an iPhone in every screen size ever offered by any Android phone maker.

      They will do it by adding voice call capability to an iPad mini and drawing black bands around the perimeter of the display, depending on which one they choose to emulate. They will simultaneously fracture the resolution consistency for app makers, thereby rendering the iOS walled garden as screwed up as the Android open desert.

    2. If that came to pass, it would be the first time that the collective punditry will have willed Apple into an act of creation, breathing life into a monstrous catalogue of products showcasing diversity for its own sake; what I think of ruefully as the Procter-and-Gamblisation of a once-focussed company.

      It would also likely spell Doom, real doom this time, for an Apple hobbled by market forces, forced to shelve their own ideas, reduced to giving people what they want: faster horses. Uh, I mean bigger screens…

  2. It’s not unlike the VHS-Beta wars of the mid-80’s: Sony’s Betamax was of vastly superior quality (you could make almost lossless copies from one machine to another), but VHS tapes were 8 hours long (at extremely poor quality) while Beta was only 6 hours long. Guess who one that war?

    The customer may always be right, but the consumer is almost always wrong (in that they sacrifice quality for price).

    Make no mistake: a >5″ iPhone will NOT be cheap. But if they can keep the 4.8″ iPhone 6 at iPhone 5s prices, they’ll do very well…

    1. I agree 100%, but I don’t understand the framing of your statement. Nobody around here is asking for a cheap “iPhone Plus.” We want it to remain the iPhone; we want the same high quality, premium device but with a screen and OS that’s more roomy, like a big ol’ Mercedes S-Class. That’s all. We want it at the same premium price with the same high end features like Touch ID and the Retina display, we just want a more comfy, luxurious experience when we use it.

  3. “Losing market share”. Just fscking stop it already. What these people know of “market share” wouldn’t fill a thimble. And if Apple decides to make a bigger screen, they sure as hell won’t debut two, FFS.

      1. The 5S and 5S outsell the Galaxy S4 because they’re iPhones. Customers such as myself have simply suppressed our desire for a larger screen in order to have the best smartphone experience currently available. But make no mistake, we would love our iPhones even more if the screen was larger, and that’s why Apple will increase the size. Not because some analyst recommended it; they’re doing it for us.

    1. You’re right, it’s not about market share. It’s about mind share. Apple needs to take over the big screen premium smartphone market for the sake of their brand rather than ceding that ground almost entirely to Samsung. And later this year, they finally will.

  4. Two new iPhone models this year they say. What will become of the the 5 and 4 series? Will Apple do away with all the non 64-bit iPhone models? I saw the iPhone 5S, 5C and the 4 have dropped $50 and are now selling for $600, $500 and $350 at least on T-Mobile.

    I certainly hope Apple learned a valuable lesson from their marketing failure of the 5C. A great phone but a bad buy next to the 5S.

    1. Apple is using the iPhone 5c as a tool to push buyers to the 5s (well, at least those buyers who can grasp a simple value equation).

      Once Apple gets the customer to the websites or into the stores and the prospective buyer can see and/or hold both phones and learn that they’re only separated by a mere $100, my guess is that Apple figures they’ll have plenty of upsales occurring. Upsales that will boost Apple’s iPhone margins nicely.SteveJack, MacDailyNews, September 10, 2013

      1. I’ve commented on MND’s lack of business sense with regard to this comment. I’ll repeat.

        No company will spend time, engineering, manufacturing and retail space to produce a product (5C) whose sole intent is to drive the sales of a superior product (5S) especially when that product (5S) needs no help in sales especially since the iPhone has always been a very hot seller.

        Then end up with unsold (5C) inventory that the company has to eat. To do so is a waste of money and signals to anyone that knows how to make a dollar in business that the 5C was a poorly marketed (priced) next to the 5S. Apple messed up on the 5C pricing.

        1. Nobody said a GD thing about “sole intent,” Strawman.

          Refute the argument on its merits. Don’t make up your own criteria to fit your fallacious theories, like a typical liberal.

          1. “Apple is using the iPhone 5c as a tool to push buyers to the 5s (well, at least those buyers who can grasp a simple value equation).”

            A very expensive tool indeed.

            Those buyers selecting the 5C or the 5S understand nothing about value, only color coordination and being impatient.

  5. “… people familiar with the situation said …”

    Of course everybody with any sense knows that the people who are truly familiar with the situation don’t say anything at all.

    How many “people familiar with the situation” told us that the iPhone 5S would have 64 bit processing ?

  6. I love how MDN went from believing that Apple didn’t need to chase the cartoonishly large handsets of their competitors to “When Apple finally extracts their collective head from their collective ass and ships iPhone models with larger screens …”

    I mean, yes, phablets have taken a nice portion of the market. But that doesn’t mean Apple needs to make one any more than they needed to make a netbook. It certainly doesn’t mean that Apple will die if they “fail to deliver.” I mean, clearly Apple has done something right with their current form factor.

    That’s not to say I believe Apple shouldn’t make that larger phone. Clearly, there are segments of the global smartphone market that want it, and Apple should accommodate them. But I don’t think it has anything to do with “pulling heads out of their collective asses.”

      1. I thought the market share figure for 5″ and larger phones was larger than that. (Then again, it largely depends on how you define phablet.) But even 5% of the market is more than Microsoft OR Blackberry’s market share, right? Just not worth chasing.

    1. Maybe MDN changed their minds when they saw THE POLL RESULTS POSTED IN THEIR TAKE? HELLO? Do you not see the numbers? They’re right there in front of your face.

      There are more people frequenting this website who want a behemoth iPhablet than those who clamor for the old 3.5 inch screen. You know, the size we were told was perfect by the likes of you when I and many others begged Apple for an increase to 4 inches at the very least? Now it’s the absolute smallest MDN users want after finally experiencing a larger screen and a whopping 65% of MDN users want a screen BIGGER than 4 inches.

      MDN changed their minds because we spoke and they heard us. We want a bigger iPhone!

      1. I’m sure that the study MDN conducted was absolutely scientific in any way and did not include any bias or manipulation whatsoever. Or not. Probably not.

        But even if that weren’t the case, I’m sure polling would have supported Apple making an Ultrabook at some point, too. Funny how that turned out. Just because people say they want something, doesn’t mean Apple is going to do it or HAS to do it.

        Did I say Apple shouldn’t make a larger-screen phone? No. I said I can’t believe how MDN has done a complete 180 to the point of calling the folks at Apple idiots and failures for not doing so sooner, and suggesting there be a reckoning if they “fail to deliver” this year. Furthermore, MDN “changing their minds” because the mob spoke out is ludicrous and raises issues of the reliability and mental stability of the people running this site.

        Apple either will or won’t make a larger-screen phone. If they do, they will do so for their own reasons in their own time and it will not just be a larger-screen phone to compete with the junk-peddlers. If they don’t, it’s because they don’t believe it will create an optimal experience for the end-user. But I’m not going to call for Tim Cook and Jony Ive’s heads regardless of the outcome.

        Now, power down. I refuse to believe anyone named R2 could be so rude. Beep boop beep, motherf***er!

  7. Obviously Apple-infused leaking, as most of the WSJ articles are. You can tell because WSJ is always right when they report on Apple future plans. They’re hoping to freeze Samesung sales by convincing folks to hold out for the megaPhone.

  8. An unidentified source claims Apple will introduce a spherical iPad designed for telling fortunes. Spread the word! Watch the analysts pick up the ball and run with it!

  9. I can see Apple offering a larger iPhone, but I don’t see Apple offering two larger iPhones. That would mean 3 production screen sizes, perhaps 4 if the 4S sticks around (not likely). Simply not practical.

  10. I certainly hope that, if Apple does produce a larger phone, they use that extra space for a larger battery, and not try to make the thing even thinner than it already is. It’s thin enough! Any thinner and it starts to be a little difficult to hold.

  11. The “small” iPhone has bern gaining market share at the expense of the larger Android phones. Samsung’s success in China is more likely to be due to Apple’s absence from the biggest mobile operator than the size of its screen. Nevertheless, Apple will be looking to flesh out the iPhone franchise with additional models, just as they did with iPod.

    We’ll see then how many people prefer the big phones…

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