Yesterday Marco Arment of Instapaper fame, published an article in which he does the heavy lifting, and suggests that Apple could easily create a 4.94-inch iPhone that would measure nicely within their own product lineup and be comparable to competing products.
Apple has certainly expanded product lines to hit different price points before. The iPod line is the most obvious example. First came the iPod (later rebranded as iPod Classic), then the Mini (which later morphed into the nano) then the Shuffle, and finally the iPod touch. There have been many iterations of these products over the years, and with them the expansion into lower and higher price points.
With Apple recently expanding all of their existing iOS lines to include new screen sizes, and with their track record of introducing new sizes to their consumer electronics lines, it would make sense that Apple would create a larger iPhone.
This is purely my speculation, but this could meld nicely with another rumor floating around. Recently reports have surfaced claiming that Apple is working on a new, low-cost iPhone offering. I recently dismissed the idea. Since the Arment piece, I’m reconsidering the idea under the following scenario: The 4-inch iPhone becomes the standard baseline iPhone, the 3.5-inch iPhone becomes the smaller less-expensive (thus why it would be manufactured more cheaply) offering, and a hypothetical 4.94-inch iPhone could be the new deluxe model. Total speculation on my part, but I can see it playing out like this.
On the other side of things, does Apple really need to make such a device due to competitive pressures? Are larger, almost comically-sized phones posing a real threat? I’d say no, but that’s mostly because such a device does not appeal to me, my wallet, or my soft, tiny little hands. Despite Apple not offering anything in that of that size, the iPhone is still selling really well. Then again, the comically oversized (at least I think so) Galaxy Note II is reportedly seeing strong sales as well.
There is seemingly no downsides to Apple moving into this part of the market. They can compete against other manufacturers, consumers have another option, and developers won’t have to do much to make their applications compatible with the new screen size. However, I think this would begin to muddle the line between iPad and iPhone. Sure, Apple probably doesn’t care which device they are selling, so long as you are buying from Apple, but this would most certainly make it harder for a consumer to decide. That is, if they aren’t confused by it.
The iPhone and iPad share iOS as their foundation. Apple is moving to make the Mac more like iOS with the slow addition of iOS-like features with the past two releases. Perhaps Apple is indeed hoping to morph the two platforms into one. It certainly seems like it is headed that way. We would be one step closer, at least from a end-users perspective if Apple would introduce a 5-inch “iPhone Plus”
Just a few years ago, I could never have predicted Apple making an iPhone screen any larger than 3.5inches. Here we are in 2013 and the iPhone screen has been expanded and the iPad screen has been reduced. Things can and will change. Although I personally have no interest in a larger iPhone, there is certainly a market for it. It remains to be seen if it a sizable enough market for Apple to enter.
The atmosphere is right for a larger iPhone to emerge. The technology is there as well. Perhaps we’ll see one alongside standard 3.5 and 4-inch iPhone models. Then again, as the speculation mounts in regards to Apple entering the television market, just because Apple can or even should enter a market, doesn’t mean they will.
Would a 5-inch iPhone be something that interests you? We’d love to hear what you’re thinking. Please leave a comment below!