Large iPhones have nearly killed off small 4-inch displays among U.S. users

“Earlier this week Apple announced that it sold 41 million iPhones during the last quarter, and today CIRP is out with new analysis on the overall iPhone install base in the United States plus a breakdown by install base,” Zac Hall reports for 9to5 Mac.

“Apple only shares how many iPhones are sold globally per quarter and doesn’t break down sales by model,” Hall reports. “Consumer Intelligence Research Partners analysis, however, puts the overall US install base at 141 million units compared to 136 million units during the prior quarter and 124 million units in the same quarter a year ago.”

“Older hardware like the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5 hardly show up on the chart, but the year old iPhone SE saw some growth at 6% of the US install base,” Hall reports. “That still means that the overwhelming majority of iPhones in use in the United States have larger displays and were released in the last few years.”

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners iPhone model breakdown - USA


Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: For the U.S., at least, the following has been proven largely correct:

In general, the only people who still think they want a 4-inch iPhone are those who do not yet own a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 or 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus.MacDailyNews Take, December 5, 2014


  1. And yet there were those of us who had to be dragged, kicking and screaming to the larger sizes, myself included. I love the small size for pocketing, larger size for reading.

    Unfortunately you can not have both so must choose what is most important for you. Though that decision may be made for you if smaller phones go the way of the dodo.

  2. That may be a generally true statement, but certainly not an absolute. Both my wife and I have had iPhone 6 and 6s models (she’s still using hers). I switched to the SE in June and I couldn’t be happy. It fits in the hand and pocket much better. Perhaps it’s because I wear a uniform, but just the fact that it fits in my shirt pocket again was joyous thrill. My wife has used it too, and guess what….. she wants to switch back to the smaller form factor as well.
    But hay, we all have our likes, right? Chocolate, Vanilla, Rocky Road

    1. I did. Yesterday, in fact. My wife dropped her 5s, so I gave her mine and bought an SE. Neither of those models are the ergonomic perfection of the iPhone 4, but I refuse to go bigger. I’ll go back to a feature-phone before I start carrying one of those breadboards.

  3. It’s good to have choices. I’ve used an iPhone 6 since it came out but I’m thinking that next year I’ll switch to an SE. I mostly use an iPad. The iPhone is just used as a phone.

  4. I have an iPhone SE in my pocket and a cellular iPad always nearby.

    I don’t want or need a phone bigger than the one I have and would find it problematical if I had to switch to a larger sized iPhone. When I need more screen area, I use my iPad and the rest of the time I have a super-powerful iPhone which comfortably fits in my pocket whatever I’m wearing and I largely forget that it’s there.

    If they were to produce a larger screen but still within the same form factor by doing without the bezel, then that would be fine, but I certainly wouldn’t want a bigger housing.

  5. “In general, the only people who still think they want a 4-inch iPhone are those who do not yet own a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 or 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus.”

    The MDN take on this is overly prescriptive. As a teacher in a Scottish High School and a known Apple fanatic, I have access to every type of Apple product, thanks to the kids showing me their newest acquisitions. It really burns my bacon to see a 15 year old with an Apple watch and a 7 Plus. (Hey – I’m human. Don’t judge me.) My 5S is a lovely machine. I am glad I was able to get it, because the other phones are financially beyond me. That said, I am not unhappy with my phone, even though the bigger form factors are interesting. The 5S will do for me.

    1. You seem to be inadvertently implying that smaller screens are for relatively poor people while larger screens are for those who can afford them.

      From the moment that large screen smartphones became available, I knew that they would not be right for me because I usually keep my iPhone in my shirt pocket. My wife was issued with one by her company and I’ve been able to use it extensively, but she also hated the larger size and they gave her an iPhone 5C just before the SE came out, which suited her very well.

      I’m in the fortunate position of being able to afford whichever iPhone suits me and as far as I’m concerned there is no contest. The SE is exactly the right size for my purposes and the only improvement that I would ask for is a camera more like the ones in the larger iPhones.

      Before smartphones came along, making mobile phones smaller was the thing that largely spurred innovation, smaller cellphones were deemed to be more desirable than bulkier ones. Marketing people have managed to turn that logic on it’s head in recent years, but as far as I’m concerned, a compact iPhone is always going to be much more desirable than a large one.

  6. I’d ‘kill’ for a SMALL, up-to-date, FULLY-featured iPhone. The big iPhones are not for me. Here’s why:

    My 6S is not easily pocketable for me; when I sit in, say, jeans with the 6S in my front pocket, it bangs up against my pelvis, which the smaller iPhones do not. Also, even though I have large palms (even for someone 6’1″), I find that even without a ’phone case, it’s hard to wrap my hands around the 6S in the way I can around a 5 that has a case.

    I have an Apple Watch, AirPods, and an iPad, too. The Watch reduces the number of times I have to lug my 6S out of my pocket by quite a lot. When one throws AirPods into the mix, the number of times reduces drastically again. I rarely look at my screen, unless I have to look up a map or something. With any combination of Watch/AirPods, the small size of the iPhone becomes more important to the mix, because one’s ’phone ‘module’ eventually becomes merely a conduit to what one does with far more accessible and unobtrusive gadgetry (notwithstanding the white of the AirPods…).

    Frankly, I’m surprised that more Watch and AirPods users have not spoken up about the desire to, effectively, hide/not use the iPhone itself, because it is becoming less and less important to use the screen on the iPhone. Under these conditions, the smaller the ’phone itself, the better.

    1. Just out of interest, why didn’t you buy an iPhone SE instead of a 6S?

      I agree with all your points about Watch and AirPod users. These technologies greatly reduce the need to take your iPhone out of your pocket and look at the screen, so a small iPhone becomes advantageous under those circumstances.

      1. Features, and I needed to have the same one as a 90-year-old friend, so that I could debug his problems exactly and show it to him on my ’phone.

        The problem with the SE, is that it’s not FULLY up to date with things like force-touch, TouchID2, etc..

      2. I am in exactly the same situation. I wanted to replace my 5S and 6S just came out, so I got it on the first day, as it was the smallest phone with the latest technology. Had the SE been available in October 2015 (rather than April 2016), I would have become a happy owner of SE.

        For me, the price difference of $250 wouldn’t have been an issue. After all, I did get that 6s. However, if I had the choice, I would have accepted SE, even if it did not have all the features of 6s (the new and improved Touch ID sensor), because 6s is definitively too big to reach the top with my thumbs without resorting to the ‘reachability’ feature.

        1. Oh, and then there’s the tiny matter of a power button being directly across from the volume controls, so changing the volume often shuts off the 6S, or shutting it off merely changes the volume. The power button on the top is makes so much more sense from an ergonomic ‘do not make unintended mistakes’ point of view. So much for “it just works.” :-/

          Puhleeezzze, Apple, put the power button back on the top of the iPhone.

        2. This particular one has been brought up by quite many people. I know that anecdotal evidence (as well as online echo chambers of like-minded folks) doesn’t constitute solid data, and I’m truly curious exactly how many people are frustrated by this change (power button opposite the volume down button), but I bet the percentage is NOT negligible and is likely in double digits.

          And if it is, then it is truly disappointing that the design people are overriding the UX / ergonomics people at Apple.

          Add to that the few people who are now annoyed that their phone can no longer be used as a carpenter’s level (there are apps for that), because there are buttons sticking out on both long sides.

        3. The power button location is a disappointment for everyone I know with a 6 or 7. My girlfriend moved from a 4s to a 6, and her first concern was size. That issue evaporated in mere hours. But to this day I hear complaints about the damn power button getting bumped when she tries to adjust volume. Absolutely stupid ergo on Apples part.

  7. C’mon MDN, man up, show your famous calendaring skills and eat some crow – link back to where your crystal ball showed over and over no one would ever want another small iphone and that apple was hopelessly astray by not moving faster into big screens… until the SE came out and suddenly you claimed that idea too

  8. Clearly, cost is NOT the reason more people prefer/purchase smaller iPhones. Indeed, many of us believe if Apple placed all of the features that are unique to the “plus” into the non-plus models at introduction (and don’t bother to insist they couldn’t), at least half of the plus-purchasers would migrate to the non-plus with their next purchase.
    We lovingly call the plus a “clown phone” — a nice compromise-device for those who have fat fingers or who don’t want (or can’t afford) an iPad. Folks, a larger iPhone is simply not an advantage – it’s a disadvantage in any ‘mobile’ device. It’s a ‘compromise device’, at best. And weight is also a disadvantage – especially for those who like to carry their iPhones in a shirt or jacket pocket rather than in a holster or (horrors) in a pants pocket.
    Maybe it’s time MDN stopped calling the plus a “flagship” phone. Frankly, for MOST iPhone buyers, the ‘flagship’ of the iPhone line is the smaller iPhone.

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