There was a time, not long ago when it seemed like the more advanced our mobile phones became, the smaller they got and slim, pocket-size devices were all around. “Brick” phones were seen as a joke and everyone enjoyed the convenience of having a small phone that would not take too much space and that was easy to carry. However, it seems like the trend is changing again and we are leaning towards bigger smartphones. According to recent reports, over 30% of smartphones sold in the world today are at least 5-inch devices.
Research carried out by analyst company Canalys, found that the popularity of 5-inch or over smartphones (also known as phablets) increased in almost 400% in the first three months of 2014, compared to the previous year. Even if they only make up around 34% of all the items sold worldwide, they strong presence in the market is evident and in Asia and the Pacific, they represent over 43% of all devices sold.
With the upcoming release of the iPhone 6, it is expected that Apple will take this trend into consideration and will opt to launch two versions of the device: one that is 4.7 inches and a larger one, of 5.5 inches. Some reports indicate that the second model would only be available in September, which raises concerns for Apple about the advantage that the competition may get in the meantime. After all, manufacturers like LG, Samsung, HTC and Lenovo, have experience producing successful phablets and the delay in Apple’s 5.5 headset would give them time to strengthen their presence in this market.
Earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook, stated that the company would not be manufacturing a larger version of their iPhone, unless they could create a device that would maintain the high standards of quality that they strive for. He claimed that Apple was not willing to cross that line until the technology made it the possible to create the right product that would offer the best in every aspect.
The success of the iPhone 5s and the 5c, which are just 4 inches, have proved that Apple is not immediately threatened by the popularity of larger devices. It is estimated that over 51 million iPhones have been sold so far in 2014, which is a considerable grow from the 38 million that had been sold this time last year. Part of this remarkable increase is due to the fact that the iPhone is now available with China Mobile, the largest mobile company in the Asian country, which without any doubt is one of the biggest markets in the world. Still, the company has to consider the rising interest of consumers in phablets.
Samsung is taking the lead in the smartphone industry by giving users the chance to choose larger displays and it currently holds over 31 percent of the market, while Apple holds a 16 percent of it. Some experts believe that by offering a good quality large iPhone 6, Apple could increase its market share considerably. Still, the launch of the 4.7 version of the iPhone 6, may on its own help Apple to gain a larger portion of the market, if it can attract more sales than Samsung’s Galaxy S5 (5.1) or Galaxy Note 3, a 5.7 phablet.