Would an Apple iPhone ‘phablet’ push iOS usability to a breaking point?

“It seems abundantly clear that Apple has been bitten by the serpent that Steve Jobs disdained,” Anthony Wing Kosner writes for Forbes. “I refer, of course, to the “phablet” popularized by its arch-rival (and imitator) Samsung.”

“Every rumor, every report that emerges from the supply chain and echoed through well-regarded analyst notes and traffic-baiting tech blogs alike align in the same direction. The iPhone is going large and it is just a matter of how large,” Kosner writes. “When The Wall Street Journal comes out and says that “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,” we treat it as more than idle gossip.”

“Phablets, it seems, are where consumers are going, particularly as our initial enthusiasm with the iPad begins to cool. But there may be more to that transition than just scaling up the iPhone,” Kosner writes. “It may take a while for consumers to catch on, but the opportunity space exists for someone to design a better interaction model for these larger smartphones. Will Apple be the one to do it?”

Read more in the full article here.

44 Comments

  1. The “new interaction model” is already clear on laptops and tablets using Skype with a wired or BT headphone.

    Now it is only how it is configured and the quality of such a headphone or headphones.

    I don’t care whether it is a 5s or MBPro, the headphone is what counts for audio clarity at this point and on any iPhab from Apple.

    1. Lead by requiring many loyal customers to squint at their devices, while rival platform customers enjoy large, rich content and a viewing experience that’s much more pleasant (especially reading and watching video)? Lead by not allowing loyal customers to have options of what best suites their needs? That’s leadership? Leadership and dictatorship are different I thought?

        1. Quick quips to disregard truly objective thinking doesn’t serve customers who would like more options to suite their individual needs. One size doesn’t fit all.

      1. Many users of those rival platforms regret their phablets because they feel so freaking stupid when they hold them up to their heads. Many of these poor souls, which includes a few Verizon operators, wish they had specifically gotten an iPhone for a phone, and an iPad for a personal computer. If Apple does go ahead and make the clown device, they better keep making sane-sized phones too or this is one iPhone customer they’re gonna loose.

        1. And where are you going to go??? There is not a vendor out there that makes a competent 4.0″ smart phone.

          I for one am a “phablet” purchaser that does regret my purchase at all. I look forward with great anticipation to an iPhone with a 5.0″+ screen. According to you, there must be a lot of people out there with low self esteem to waste time on worrying how they look using a phablet as a phone. I would also stay away from making generalized statements with no facts to back them up.

          Your argument regarding purchasers of rival platforms regrets sound more like they are regretting not buying a device with iOS. I use the internet a lot and I love my iPad but I do not like paying for data twice, so I can only use it on wifi. Without an internet connection, my iPad feels like a neutered device. Yes I know you can do a lot with it unconnected but I am not into creation content on the run.

          When I am out and about I prefer my larger screened phone for the uses many have already mentioned because of the constant data connection. If my larger screened device was an iPhone I would be much more satisfied, but as long as Apple stays at 4.0″ I will continue to purchase phones with OS’s other than iOS.

          I really think the hysteria needs to calm down. It wasn’t the end of the world when the iPhone released with a 4.0″ screen and it won’t be when it launches with a screen larger than 4.0″. However, if Apple were to remain stubborn and stick with the smaller screen, eventually, you would start to see the erosion of their market share begin.

        2. Sorry not true, I feel fine with my phablet when making calls. I also am able to really enjoy emailing, messaging, watching videos, playing games, using Flipboard, reading the news on a screen sized better for the task …….. I could go on and on. If I was to use the same comparison, its the iphone users who look stupid trying to do the same on a screen that is far too small! Times have moved on since the first iphone rocked the telcoms market, our phones are now being used more and more for tasks other than making calls the iPhone needs to catchup.

    1. EXACTLY iBob. Take althegeo’s request for an iPad Mini Phablet, provide a better-than-stupid-Bluetooth headset that allows you to make calls, hang up on calls and chat with Siri. No brick held to your head. No two fisted mobile phone. No throw-back to the Neanderthal age of cell phones.

  2. Well they are most certainly going to have to do something, that’s for sure… Having a larger phone with nothing more to show for it than just a another 1 or 2 rows of icons would be a complete waste of space. Apple needs to allow us to use that space and utilize it with useful information, not small static icons that you can’t even move off your screen for goodness sakes. Apple learned a lot from the iPhone and in turn brought features back to the Mac. Now it’s time return the favor in kind and bring things back to the iPhone from the Mac. Like dashboard so I could put bits of useful information on my screen that I need so I may glance when needed at any given time instead of swiping through rows and rows of app icons needlessly. I hate to be ‘that guy’ but if it means there is progress in the platform that I love so much then so be it; Android let’s you put your calendar right on your desktop so you can always stay in touch with your schedule. It let’s you put your inbox list or any folder of your choosing right on your desktop so you have what you use most right at your fingertips and ready at any glance. Apple needs to give us the option of the same with something similar to Dashboard on OS X. Apple should also bring launchpad back from the Mac to iPhone. I shouldn’t be forced to have rows and rows and rows of icons and folders of apps on my desktop; especially for apps that I need around but don’t use often. Why can’t we have launchpad so we can get to apps that we don’t use often but ONLY have apps on our desktop/home screen that we use most frequent or that we deem important enough to be there? Again, Android let’s it’s users do this… OS X was around way before Android and some how Android has managed to steal all the good parts from OS X and applied it to a mobile workflow right under Apples nose while Apple is sitting high on the hog in their cloud of arrogance not doing anything about it. Apple stop merely saying how innovative you are and how you provide the best and most flexible user experience, and actually innovate and provide that experience to put your technology where your mouth is.

      1. I’m not sure if you’re being purposely dense or you truly don’t see how what you’re suggesting not only doesn’t capture the spirit of the flexibility of what I’m saying, but it doesn’t have the same level of quick functionality at all. I’d like to be able to see my next several appointments without having to open the full fledged calendar app; just like I can on OS X. Asking Siri to open my calendar does nothing more than provide an extra layer of possibility for it to take longer to get to the information I want.

        Press and hold for Siri
        Me: “Siri, Open Calendar”
        …Processing…..Spinning wheel……Processing….Not connecting to Apple servers because you’re on the go and not always in areas with the best signal.
        Siri: “I’m sorry Michael, I can’t complete your action right now”

        If the above happened enough then it would cease to be useful and would not make it to your everyday workflow.

        OR

        Take phone out
        Glance at screen
        Me: “Oh ok that meeting isn’t until 4”

        ……Some time later after it’s getting closer to 4 and realize you are going to be late….

        Glance at phone screen
        Me: “Oh ok even if I’m late the next meeting isn’t until 6 and it’s only a 5 minute walk away from the other so I’ll have time”

        This is the level of useful that would be nice to have as an option for our platform; which another platform already provides.

        See I believe the issue is I’m a true fan. True fans are like friends, they aren’t yes men to lavish compliment upon compliment on you and have a fierce defensiveness when any criticism however constructive it might be, is offered. No true fans are like real friends; trusted advisers who you are open to criticism from because you know they are thinking of possibility for improvements that could be very beneficial.

        1. If you don’t want to use Siri to open your calendar, you have options. HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF NOTIFICATION CENTER?!? There, you can find all of your to-dos (from your calendar) among other useful info. You can swipe down from any screen to get to notification center.

          From Apple’s website on Notification Center:

          “Notification Center lets you know about new mail, missed calls, to-dos that need doing, and more. And a new feature called Today gives you a convenient summary of, well, today. One glance at your iPhone and you’ll know if it’s a certain someone’s birthday, if you’ll need an umbrella, or if traffic will slow down your commute.1 You’ll even get a heads-up on tomorrow. You can access Notification Center from any screen, including the Lock screen. Just swipe down. And get up to speed.”

          Sounds to me like you want to reinvent something that is already there and are quick to tell others they’re “dense” when they are actually trying to open your eyes to what you’re not getting yet.

          BTW, when you are using screens 6″ or less, widgets are absolutely ridiculous.

          So, on iPhone you can:

          Take phone out.
          Swipe downwards and glance at the screen.
          You: “Oh ok that meeting isn’t until 4”

          Apple provides it, and you aren’t using it. If you don’t understand this, you are hopeless.

          1. I get it, you are actually being dense on purpose. That’s fine. Just know that seeing ‘what’s next’ isn’t the same as seeing your schedule at a glance. Purposefully missing the spirit of the perspective I’m offering does show however that you do acknowledge the shortcomings I’ve laid out and you have no legitimate response; which makes sense seeing as the response would have to be implemented on a software level since there isn’t one already the options we are provided on this particular platform. Thank you for acknowledging these truths even if your admission is in feigned ignorance.

            1. LOL! You’re incessant about being miserable and that’s fine by me. Personally, I find iOS 7’s notification center does all it needs to do regarding my calendar. And when I need more info., I don’t freak out about asking Siri to open the calendar with a click of a button.

              AND, with this implementation we don’t have widgets cluttering up the screen which I find a blessing (especially for screens 6″ and under it’s ridiculous.).

              “you are actually being dense on purpose”

              hehehe.. go look in the mirror. 🙂

          2. Of course he understands this but you missed the point. In Android there have been notifications for longer than on the iphone and they are better as well, but its not the same as using a good calender widget. I use mine all the time! As for widgets being ridiculous on screens less than 6″, wrong again they work very well. A better point would be how ridiculous it is to try to read an article, view a video ……. on such a small screen. How I wish there was an iphone that was big enough and I could customize more with a reasonable battery life, now that would be an amazing phone.

            1. Just because a widget works doesn’t mean it’s the best implementation. I think iOS 7 hit the nail on the head by not having widgets. I mean, come on! We’re talking about 6″ screens or less.. and YOU think it’s a marvelous idea to take up that real estate with widgets! LOL! Use the app for goodness sake.

              REAL Apple users (not you) appreciate an operating system that makes sense and isn’t tacky. Do you guys get paid by each comment you make? Who pays you? Also, why aren’t you registered with MDN? Is Colin and Michael Perry the same person? I guess we’ll never know as we enjoy our iPhones knowing there truly isn’t any alternative.

            2. correctu you can have ur own opinion about widgets but as I use them daily and they work very well for me I am probably better qualified to comment. For me it’s more important to have the choice to use functions some will like it others not.

              Next I am as real a user as u are. I have an iMac, iPod, airports and more. I even have an iPad which I do like even though IOS is for me too restrictive. The iPhone just does not work for me it has too may shortcomings for what I want to use it for. I would like have an a iPhone too, but I gave up over a year ago when it could not do what i wanted and there were much better phones available for me, I have not gone back as my new phone was so far ahead in want from a phone. The reason I post here is I am not a lemming that follows Apple whatever they do. If something is not right or I
              feel something is missing I believe it is better to say so, that
              does not mean I am not a “real” Apple user but a constructive commenter.

              Lastly I am not Michael I just agree with his well written comments, maybe you should try to write more constructive comments rather than thinking everything that is not 100% positive for apple is conspiracy against them.

            3. Please don’t errantly generalize my comments.. thanks!

              Please tell me (besides widgets and screen size) what iPhone can’t do that your phone can? This question is immensely constructive because you never gave instances (besides widgets and screen size) that the iPhone can’t do.

              I find it quite ironic given that Apple’s iOS has the most apps and 3rd party hardware than Android, giving iPhone a major advantage in terms of capabilities and features, in effect.

            4. ^ Everything I stated above is factual, true and constructive. I have many times in the past found error in Apple’s actions and was quick to comment as such. In this case, though, Apple’s doing great, IMHO. Once again, please tell me what the iPhone can’t do (besides gaudy and cluttered widgets and screen size)?

            5. Correctu, I do not think I generalised in my reply, but am more than happy to say why from my experience the iphone falls short. My experience is 6 months using both an iphone and note 2 and since then, testing a 5 and 5s and now owning a Note 3.
              I have already mentioned screen size, which is the biggest reason I do not have an iphone, both the Note 2 and 3 are usable with one hand and comfortable in both hand and pocket. Maybe, not as much as an iphone but the real estate more than makes up for that.
              Next battery life, over the six months that I used both, I got half a day at best out of the iphone, double that from the Note despite the bigger screen and using widgets. Same usage on both, so a direct comparison.
              Comparing the signal strength and quality using the same supplier the iphone is weaker and loses signal much more. There is hardly any location where the wifi signal was better than the Note. Call quality for making and receiving calls was also better on the Note.
              Being able to swap batteries and extend memory with a SD card, which never appealed to me before, actually has proved very useful and is for sure an advantage.
              I could go on, but will skip to OS and apps. Your comment on apps is correct, more apps in the Apple store, meaningless fact though as by far the majority are of little use to most users. Compare the apps people actually use on a phone and Android apps are a match for the iphone, except they look better and are more usable on the larger screen! Both OS are fast and smooth on the phones I mentioned, no real difference in feel, the advantage with Android is there are more options for customization. For me a fully customizable locked screen and widgets are a must have.
              I could go on but think there are enough points here to answer your question.

        2. Michael, well said, I 100% agree with your sentiments here. The replies here are just ignorant I love my iMac and would love an iphone that I could be as productive on as my current phone.

  3. If Apple can design a somewhat less expensive phone in multiple colors to attract some and move others to the 5s and beyond, certainly they can design a couple of sizes of phones/pads (phablets) of in-between to get segments that have those screen size needs or wants. The market IS there.

  4. You no know grammar, sailor boy? What ‘chu talkin’ about?

    It seems abundantly clear… Every rumor, every report that emerges from the supply chain and echoed through well-regarded analyst notes… <- Does this qualify as masturbation?

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