Big-screen smartphone shipments soar, now account for one-third of market

“When it comes to smartphones, these days bigger seems to be better,” Andrea Chang reports for The Los Angeles Times. “Worldwide shipments of smartphones with screens measuring 5 inches or more soared 369% in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, a growth rate substantially faster than that of the overall market. Worldwide big-screen devices represented 34% of smartphone shipments, according to market research firm Canalys.”

“‘The trend is unmistakably toward larger-screen handsets at the high end of the market,’ said Canalys analyst Jessica Kwee,” Chang reports. “She noted that Samsung held a 44% share of devices with displays of 5 inches or more.”

Chang reports, “‘Consumers now expect high-end devices to have large displays, and Apple’s absence in this market will clearly not last long,’ she said. ‘Apple plainly needs a larger-screen smartphone to remain competitive, and it will look to address this in the coming months.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote on January 3rd:

Some portion of [those who want larger smartphone displays than Apple currently offers] 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.

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.

And, as we wrote on January 23rd:

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.

Finally, as we wrote on January 28th:

No iPhone with a screen larger than 4-inches – it’s now 2014 – despite a plethora of high-value customers who obviously want to buy one, but have turned to other platforms in order to get a smartphone with a larger screen. Oops. Mismanaged.

One-handed interaction is a concocted load of bullshit attempting to cover for not having a proper lineup of iPhones offering customers varied display sizes at even this late date.

MacDailyNews iPhone screen size poll
Source: MacDailyNews

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “David G.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Analysts expect Apple to finally offer iPhones with larger screens this year – April 21, 2014
Apple in April 2013: ‘Customers want what we don’t have’ – April 7, 2014


  1. Seems to me no one is losing sleep at Apple for lost sales to bigger screens. When Androids realize they have crap they will buy the larger iPhone when it is available. You can either be the tortoise or the hare. Anybody remember who won the race?

    Even Jobs said what he would do with the Mac (meaning pre OSX): he would milk it for all it’s got.

    1. For me, the 4″ iPhone 5/c/s already pushes the limits of one-handed operation and easy pocketability. Those things are important to me, and every time I’ve tried out a large screened Android phone, the larger screen just isn’t worth the tradeoffs.

      All of these debates about screen size can’t get around the simple fact that we don’t have any true apples-to-apples comparisons when it comes to screen size. Right now, consumers do not have true choices when it comes to screen size, because they are forced to make tradeoffs in other areas.

      With Apple, you have a state-of-the-art flagship phone that does not offer a larger screen option. And in the Android world, you have no choice but to go with the large screen in order to get the faster processors and newer features. The smaller screened Android phones are all gimped in some major way.

      If Apple keeps the 4″ form factor and maintains the high performance in the more compact package, I have no problem with them offering up larger options. If anything, this will finally demonstrate what the market really wants when given true options with no compromises — sort of like how the iPad Air and Mini retina differentiate themselves only with the screen size.

  2. MDN’s point is that Apple should release a larger iPhone for tactical reasons, i.e., to bring Samsung to its knees. While Apple rarely broadcasts its positions, perhaps the delay is due to its transition away from Samsung as a supplier, fine-tuning its prototypes, or other internal adjustments prior to launch.

  3. I ride the bus hone a couple of times a week. In my observation, 80% of those I see at the buss stop and on the bus re using iPhones. My employer recently gave up Blackberry for BYOD or a purchase subsidy. Most bought iPhones. I do a see a fee large SS phones occasionally, 1 02 at most a day. I’ll get my wife a iP6 since she carries a big bag, but i like the size of my iP5.

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