The iPhone rumor mill is abuzz once again (it never stops, does it?) over a report (paywall protected) in the Industrial and Commercial Times, a Chinese-language business publication based in Taiwan, that Apple is beginning production on 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6s.
This relatively obscure report fits with a past report from Reuters, which first detailed the size changes on April 1st. Both reports hint that the 4.7-inch model would be released before its larger partner, with Reuters writing, “Due to difficulties with in-cell production technology for the larger 5.5-inch size, one of the sources said, a decision was made to begin mass production with the 4.7-inch version alone.”
Should the delayed time frame be true, it would be a major disruption to what has been a fairly regular iPhone release schedule for a decade.
We all know that the iPhone started the smartphone movement (sorry, Palm), and is still a dominant force in the consumer market. But it’s losing market share to the numerous available Android models, and Apple executives believe they know why. This slide (below) was pulled from an internal report (released in court documents for the ongoing legal battle with Samsung) entitled FY14 (ie. Fiscal Year). Clearly, Apple is feeling some size anxiety, and acknowledging that prices may need to fall to tap international markets effectively.
It’s hard to argue with the numbers, but is it really in Apple’s best interest to jump into the mega-phone (I refuse to use the ridiculous term “phablet”…sue me) game? An r/Apple thread shows divided opinion, and its fair to say that many phone customers are happy with their 4-inchers. Will these new models end up replacing the pocket-friendly devices we know and love?
Only time will tell. As people turn more and more to mobile for entertainment consumption and professional use, the market for larger screens is bound to grow. And remember, someday, the iPhone will seem as quaint as the telegraph, no matter what the size.