Woz: The iPhone 6 is three years too late

“Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak thinks Tim Cook & Co should have made a giant iPhone much sooner,” David Goldman reports for CNNMoney.

“‘Apple could have had a much bigger share of the smartphone market if it had a larger-screen iPhone for the past three years,’ Wozniak told CNNMoney from Capital One’s new Innovation Center in Plano, Texas. ‘It could have competed better with Samsung.'” Goldman reports.

“Samsung’s 24% share of the smartphone market doubled Apple’s 12% in the third quarter, according to tech consultancy IDC. Until the much bigger iPhone 6 hit store shelves in September, Apple had kept the iPhone screen relatively small and missed out on the popularity of Android’s ever more massive smartphones.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The display size of iPhone 5 was Cook’s strategic mistake. 4-inches should have been 4.7-inches and the iPhone 5 Plus with a 5.5-inch display. Another year lost with iPhone 5s only compounded the mistake. Yes, that was criminal malpractice by Cook & Co. But, luckily for Apple, smartphones turn over rapidly and Apple, while having more work to do than they would’ve had converting Android settlers to iPhone rather than simply have iPhone users upgrade, can still quickly recover and get back to where they should have been all along and beyond!

Obviously, we agree with Woz (or vice versa):

An iPhone with a larger screen option will hurt Samsung immeasurably more than myriad, unending traipses through the legal morass.MacDailyNews, May 2, 2014

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.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Edward W.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Samsung Electronics’ profit plummets over 60% as people dump wannabe iPhones for the real thing – October 30, 2014
Samsung looks to cheap phones to stem steep profit decline in face of Apple iPhone 6/Plus – October 30, 2014
iPhone 6/Plus preorders outpace Samsung Galaxy Note 4 in South Korea – October 27, 2014
Apple looks to have significantly underestimated the popularity of 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus – October 21, 2014
Samsung poised for ‘ugly’ quarter as demand for Apple’s bigger iPhone 6/Plus skyrockets – October 6, 2014
Survey: 27% of consumers ditching Samsung phones for Apple iPhone 6/Plus – September 23, 2014
Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6/Plus fueling mass upgrades from Android – September 18, 2014

51 Comments

  1. Wozniak is a loose canon, but he is right this time. I am not buying the explanation that technology or software was not ready for oversized iPhones.

    Apple is stubborn on some thing, and it is good most of the time. However, with big iPhone thing they really could release it at least couple of years ago, along with iPhone 5.

    The slight excuse for delay would be that maybe no one have come up with pull-down-upper-half-of-the-image-by-twice-tapping-on-home-button trick yet at the time, but it is not serious enough.

    Also, Apple has made another mistake with not upgrading classic 4″ iPhone 5S — the field where no one could compete with them. I want to have absolutely the smallest flagship smartphone, and iPhone 6 is bigger than necessary. Apple should have presented three iPhones — the smallest being an update of innards of iPhone 5S (they could have called it “iPhone classic” or whatever) and the two bigger thinner iPhone 6.

      1. As much as I personally love the small, easy carry, 5S, I can appreciate some people who want a small tablet and love the 6/6+.

        I don’t “type” on my 5s; just a text message now & then. I rarely try to read an article on a web page on the 5s.

        Only time will tell what the ratio of small to phablet sized cell phones will be.

        Hence, I’m not willing to claim Apple made a horrible mistake in being 1-2 years late. After all, they still sold the iPhones like hotcakes, remember?

        1. iPhone 6 is nearly twenty grams heavier than iPhone 5S (which is significant) and has much bigger cover area, it is nearly 14 cm tall. No wonder a guy from the Verge got his iPhone 6 (smaller new device) bent just from wearing it in pockets — it is incredibly rare case, but not possible with iPhone 5S.

          Yes, rounded edges of iPhone 6 are more ergonomic, but the fact that it is significantly bigger and heavier than iPhone 5S means a lot.

          However, as I wrote from very beginning, there is no need to convince either side of preferences one way or another. Apple just had to release three phones, not two. Everybody would be satisfied.

          As it is now, I am skipping iPhone 6, instead of updating. No, unfortunately, there are very low chances that Apple will update 4″ iPhone to flagman conditions next year, but I better continue to use my current much smaller device.

      2. I like my new iPhone 6, but I am not interested at all in it getting any lighter until the battery lasts ALL day. If it cannot stand up to heavy use, and I have to lug around a battery, then it is not any big advantage getting thinner. All those wonderful apps that use location are worthless if the battery dies.

    1. Yeah. If only Apple could go back in time and make a LARGER iPhone with the technology and software that was available 3 years ago.

      Now that would be a brick that hit the fan!

      Oh. My mistake. Someone else did that.

    2. I don’t think you can blame Cook for sticking with the 4″ iPhone. That decision you can lay squarely on Steve Jobs. I believe Jobs and Ive came to the conclusion some time ago that the 4″ size was ergonomically optimal for use as a phone. And they were right – for use as a phone. But the iPhones were so damn good as computing devices that most people were using them for a whole lot more than just making phone calls. And that’s were a larger phone size becomes highly desirable.

        1. Totally agree said for ages that Cook was getting it in the ne k for de idiots set in stone by SJ who was very arrogant about what we wanted, and though right most of the time even if only convincing us of the fact, there were occasions when he was simply wrong. To change that was always going to take a couple phone generations to develop and to get right and in the mean time Cook had to take the flak

    3. I have been using the iPhone 6 Plus for almost a week. Every now and then I need something from my iPhone 5 and immediately notice the screen size is jaringly super tiny in comparison. It’s like the difference between the sun and a spec of dust. The 5 series is the appropriate size for little babies with little baby hands, but the big boys and girls will be very, very happy with the modern iPhones. The iPhone 6 Plus kicks ass! Seriously… it’s freaking amazing.

    4. I’m going to hold my opinion and invoke the “Need More Data” element first:

      Everyone is always so hot to point out Samsung’s larger marketshare – – but Samsung doesn’t sell just one (or even three) products, so what’s the breakdown of their products?

      Specifically, how much of that 24% are phablets, versus other (eg, smaller) sizes?

      Point is that Samsung’s marketshare value is functionally irrelevant if the actual statisics are something along the lines of:

      10% – cheap/small feature phones now running Android
      10% – ~4″ (iPhone5 class) smartphones
      4% – 6″ Phablet smartphone

      If the breakdown is along the lines of the above, the picture on just how everyone is doing is quite different than the inference created that Samsung’s 24% is all phablets.

      Thus, why I say “Need More Data”

      -hh

  2. i have no interest in hiding my phone behind a pencil.
    I would prefer 2mm of additional battery and a much longer battery life on the iPhone 6. Only for the 6 plus does the weight and girth become an issue.

      1. AGREED.

        I carry a couple of very small battery cases with me. Seldom have had to use them. However, when I had to, simply plugging one in for a very short time, and voila, a fully charged iPhone; ready for the most important reason I got one (now them) in the first place, i.e., for communication.

  3. We have been die-hard iPhone fans since the beginning. Every year we sell our old iPhones to buy new ones. We had the original, 3g, 3gs, 4s, 5, and 5s. This is the first iPhone where my wife said “Meh, it’s too big for me. Do they have a small version?” She has no interest in the iPhone 6 (I bought one for myself and love it). If apple sold an iPhone 6 mini, the same size as the iPhone 4 or 5 with upgraded internals and apple pay, they’d have more money from us. If apple sold a phone that was twice as thick, twice as heavy with twice the battery life they’d have even MORE money from us.

  4. Obviously, Apple can’t please everyone all the time.

    Those that think the technology was available 3 years ago are just kidding themselves. The technology available three years ago was good enough for Samsung, not Apple.

    According to Woz, the strategic mistake was Job’s, not Cook’s as MDN implies. However, MDN is correct, there is always time to win market share back. Then again, MDN, on more than one occasion, has said Apple is not driven by market share.

    You don’t think Apple had this planned years ago? I do. Apple just knew when to say “no” which is another credit to Job’s.

  5. MDN should know better. Apple only releases products when they are ready. They more than likely have larger screen versions of the 5 in R&D and decided that they were not good enough.
    If the had released a larger sized phone sure they would have sold more but at what cost? Lower build quality and reduced margins. That’s a fools errand and we have just seen what has happened to Samsung.
    Apple will remain focused as they have been since Job took over in ’97. That means making the best product possible by focusing on quality and not making me too products.
    If you haven’t noticed Apple now have 4 iPhone product lines that keeping a death grip on the highly profitable top end of the market whilst gradually taking the middle end of the business.
    What that means is that Apple own the profit share for the mobile industry.
    Would you really want it any other way, just so a few geeks can get their hands on a large phone?

  6. Apple didn’t want to sell larger phones because they knew it would cut into their iPad sales; they didn’t want to sell you a phablet, but wanted you to buy a phone AND a tablet.

    The sixes were introduced at the same time they gave us a peek at the apple watch, which I don’t believe is a coincidence. It’s a companion device to the larger phones meant to generate an additional revenue stream to compensate for the decline in iPad sales.

    1. You really don’t know Apple or Steve do you!

      As Ive point out recently*, “Years ago we made prototypes with bigger screens. They were interesting features having a bigger screen, but the end result was a lousy product because they were clunky like a lot of competitors’ phones are still. Years ago we realized this is going to be important that we have larger screens but we need to do a lot of things to make it a compelling product.

      P.S. You sound just like every other scare-mongering right-winger!

      * http://www.businessinsider.com/jony-ive-vanity-fair-summit-interview-2014-10#ixzz3IlwieJ2a

      1. What did he mean by “years ago”? I couldn’t tell where the article mentioned specifics. “Years ago” doesn’t sound like he’s talking about 2012.

        Don’t you think it’s a bit of a coincidence that they announced the watch at the same conference as the phones? Do you deny that iPad sales have comparatively slumped in the last couple of quarters? Don’t you think that marketing has some say in the release of products?

        I haven’t bought a windows machine in 15 years, so I think I may know a thing or two about iDevices.

        P.S.: Haven’t voted Republican in the last twenty years despite living in a red, red, red state. Throwing in an unnecessary misdirected political statement, how are you any different from the annoying nutjobs on this site that use every news item as a n opportunity to blast the President?

        1. “What did he mean by “years ago”? I couldn’t tell where the article mentioned specifics. “Years ago” doesn’t sound like he’s talking about 2012.”

          Watching the video, I can only say that it was at least 2 years, i.e., 2012, or earlier. I do know that Apple spends a lot of effort creating virtually tens/hundreds of models/prototypes before finalizing a product. And they take their time doing so.

          “Don’t you think it’s a bit of a coincidence that they announced the watch at the same conference as the phones?”

          No. Particularly since the  Watch is much like the watches we all wear now. That is we GLANCE at them to simply tell time. Now, we will be able to GLANCE at a Watch that not only will tell us the time but more importantly prompt us to take ‘no action’, take an incoming phone call, read a message or take a direction, etc. All things that previously NECESSITATED taking out our iPhone, iPad or open our computer.

          “Do you deny that iPad sales have comparatively slumped in the last couple of quarters?

          No. Same as I don’t call a ‘decrease in sales’ a slump particularly when I KNOW that something newer is coming.

          Don’t you think that marketing has some say in the release of products?

          Yes. Like the ANNOUNCEMENT date. But that is best determined when marketing gets an official date of availability. Of course that is not always the case, particularly by companies that use ‘vaporware’ as a means to throw off the competition, for example.

          “I haven’t bought a windows machine in 15 years, so I think I may know a thing or two about iDevices.”

          I never have bought a windows machine. First Mac Jan, 1084. More than a hundred since. And virtually very iteration of the iPad and iPhone. But my wife will say I don’t know dick about anything.

          “P.S.: Haven’t voted Republican in the last twenty years despite living in a red, red, red state. Throwing in an unnecessary misdirected political statement, how are you any different from the annoying nutjobs on this site that use every news item as an opportunity to blast the President?”

          Can’t say never. Eisenhower, Reagan and Bush (GH) were my choice. And I certainly hoped that Lincoln and Roosevelt (Teddy) would have been during their time. However, I apologize if my terminology implied only to Republicans, realizing that not all are FEAR-MONGERS as so many disproportionately seem to be.

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