Apple and its suppliers are testing new versions of iPhones and iPads with larger screens, a new report said on Monday, supporting recent rumors that the company’s 2014 iPhone model, presumably called the “iPhone 6,” could sport a bigger display measuring more than 5 inches.
The Cupertino-based company has recently been testing an iPhone screen larger than 4 inches and an iPad screen slightly smaller than 13 inches with its Asia suppliers. The current iPhone 5 has a 4-inch screen and the iPad has a 9.7-inch display. However, an Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.
“Many handset vendors are rolling out big phones to meet the growing demand. To stay competitive, I believe that Apple is probably working on a larger iPhone,” a Journal report quoted Dennis Chan, an analyst at Yuanta, as saying.
Steve Jobs famously shunned form factors different from those of the original iPad and iPhone, but later on Apple did introduce a larger iPhone — the iPhone 5 — as well as the iPad mini, so nothing is set in stone.
Some Asia-based reports hold that Apple has decided to delay the iPhone 5S in order to switch to a larger screen size. The 5S was expected to hit the market in September or October but has been pushed back to the end of the year to allow Apple to increase the screen size from 4 inches to 4.3 inches, the Commercial Times reported last week.
Cook also said the iPhone doesn’t have a larger screen right now for a few reasons. “A large screen today comes with a lot of tradeoffs,” he said.
“People do look at the size, but they also look at things like if the photos show the proper color, the white balance, reflectivity, battery life, brightness, the longevity of the display.” He also added that Apple only expands product lines, as it did with the different iPads, when there is a need to.
“On the phone, that’s the question. Are we now at a point to serve enough people that we need to do that?” Cook asked.
Rumours that Apple is looking to upsize its devices have been plentiful this year, and the latest stories are obviously all the more likely given the source.
Of course, testing does not mean definitely on their way, and Apple will be mindful that it has made the case for both iPhone and iPad’s current screen sizes being optimum.
“Apple is exploring ways to capture diversifying customer needs at a time when many mobile device makers offer smartphones and tablets in various sizes,” the report says, hinting that the firm is looking at ways to challenge Microsoft and Samsung.
A larger iPhone looks more likely, with competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One enjoying success with bigger screens, and the Asian market embracing phablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 , says the TechRadar.
In the first quarter, Samsung was the leading smartphone maker with 33.1% of the market, while Apple trailed in second place with 17.9%, according to researcher Strategy Analytics.
In tablets, Apple is still the dominant player but its market share fell to 39.6% in the three months ended March 31 from 58.1% a year earlier, according to IDC. Samsung, which uses Google Inc.’s Android operating system, grabbed a tablet market share of 17.9%, up from 11.3% a year earlier, rpeots the Wall Street Journal.