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Why Apple needs a phone with a 5 inch or larger screen

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Why Apple needs a phone with a 5 inch or larger screen
Here is some interesting information unearthed by research firm Canalys, and could explain why Apple is so gung-ho on increasing the size of the screen for the Apple iPhone 6. According to Canalys, the number of smartphones sporting a 5 inch screen or larger, saw a rather large 369% increase in shipments during the first quarter. While globally these models represented 34% of total shipments, they also made up 39% of all smartphones shipped in China during Q1, and 43% of all smartphones shipped in the Asia Pacific region from January through March.

47% of those smartphones with a screen 5 inches or larger, shipped in the first quarter with a price of $500 or more. Of the remaining 53% that had a screen size smaller than 5 inches, 87% were iPhone models. There obviously is a market left here for Apple to go after. Right now, rival Samsung is leading the way in smartphones with a 5 inch or larger glass. Sammy owned 44% of that market in the opening three months of the year. Looking at smartphones shipped in Q1 with a 5.5 inch screen or higher, Samsung had 53% of that market.

The latest leaked pictures and information we have, points to a 4.7 inch Apple iPhone 6 to launch in August, with a 5.5 inch model coming the following month. Samsung's current flagship model, the Samsung Galaxy S5, offers a 5.1 inch panel. There is talk that Sammy will release a Samsung Galaxy S5 Prime with a a bit larger 5.2 inch screen, offering 1440 x 2560 resolution.

We should point out that if 5 inches is the magic number, and the iPhone 6 is released with a 4.7 inch display, Apple will still not cross the 5 inch barrier until the rumored 5.5 inch version of the iPhone hits the market.

It seems so long ago when the Apple iPhone's 3.5 inch screen was considered large by industry standards. Two years after the launch of the OG Apple iPhone. HTC released the 4.3inch HTC HD2. The Windows Mobile powered phone was considered humungous at the time. The Motorola DROID and the Nexus One, two important phones in the history of Android, each carried a 3.7 inch display.

Smartphones with screens larger than 5 inches, made up 34% of the smartphones shipped in Q1

Smartphones with screens larger than 5 inches, made up 34% of the smartphones shipped in Q1


source: Canalys via BGR

57 Comments
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posted on 12 May 2014, 17:23 4

1. AfterShock (Posts: 2895; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)


If you want the mobile users media dollars,
You got to give them the hardware to enjoy it on.
Catching up, but is it enough to win any new buyers when mobile media is king on others remains to be seen.
Dollar for dollar right now, its absurd the costs associated on a tiny mobile device.
Retina quality though.

posted on 12 May 2014, 20:32 6

41. sgodsell (Posts: 1390; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


The iPhone was long in the tooth. They needed to change. Anyone who has a note or 5" phone in general can vouch that looking at a larger display is better for lots of things. I am 6'5" and the iPhone was always a toy to me.

posted on 13 May 2014, 13:45

57. mrblah (Posts: 528; Member since: 22 Jan 2013)


I had the Note II, I went back to iPhone and have never been happier.

posted on 12 May 2014, 17:25

2. GreekGeek (Posts: 844; Member since: 22 Mar 2014)


Any guess on the screen resolution?

posted on 12 May 2014, 17:28 1

4. fzacek (Posts: 2094; Member since: 26 Jan 2014)


720p? 900p?

posted on 12 May 2014, 17:41

8. eggimage (Posts: 67; Member since: 19 Jan 2012)


it's likely to be 1080p on the 5.5".

posted on 12 May 2014, 17:48 14

10. GreekGeek (Posts: 844; Member since: 22 Mar 2014)


Apple doesn't follow the ''standards''

my bet would be an odd sh*t like 1423 x 744 or something like that

posted on 12 May 2014, 17:45

9. Arte-8800 (banned) (Posts: 4562; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)


Would love a 1080p and 2Gb Ram also 2500Mah

But that's a big upgrade to iP which I believe won't happen, but yes 720P a must and 4.3screen

posted on 12 May 2014, 18:37 5

24. fzacek (Posts: 2094; Member since: 26 Jan 2014)


Would you love a $1000 price tag, too? Because that's coming...

posted on 12 May 2014, 19:11

31. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3606; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


Because $700 for a phone with a 4MP camera is not overpriced?

posted on 12 May 2014, 19:22 8

33. fzacek (Posts: 2094; Member since: 26 Jan 2014)


I agree, but Apple always takes it to the extreme...

posted on 12 May 2014, 21:34 1

42. AfterShock (Posts: 2895; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)


They shall have their pound of flesh from users too no doubt.

posted on 12 May 2014, 17:28 2

3. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3606; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


It seems that if Apple doesn't price themselves out of the market, they should see very good sales of their larger iPhones later this year.

I personally hope that Apple has moved the bar up (as they did originally with "retina") for screen resolution. Apple's new devices could both offer "RetinaHD" resolution -- screens double the current "retina", i.e. with 2272 x1280 resolution.

The current A7 drives a similar resolution in the iPads and I have little doubt an A8 chip would handle things even better. The question remains if Apple can get a company to make the screens in quantity with good quality.

posted on 12 May 2014, 17:30 3

5. fzacek (Posts: 2094; Member since: 26 Jan 2014)


I doubt that it will even be a 1080p screen. Apple buyers already think that Retina is the best that it gets, so why make it any better?

posted on 12 May 2014, 17:49 1

11. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3606; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


Because Apple's business model relies on doing something special approximately every 5 year years to maintain brand prestige.

For the iPhone 6, I think a super quality screen with a sapphire covering would be a big selling point. The other thing Apple could do is offer some breakthrough in battery life. Or improve the camera.

Neither the battery or camera is the new shiny that will cause the iFaithful to lust for the new gear, not compared to "RetinaHD + Sapphire".

posted on 12 May 2014, 17:54 1

13. eggimage (Posts: 67; Member since: 19 Jan 2012)


quiet honestly, these 1080p, 1440p/ 400+ ppi displays are rather pointless if they still run at 360p in reality (like all these phones out in the market), and the interfaces appear to be just as large, the only benefit you get from it would be clearer images when you hold the phone extremely close to your eyes.
From the previous reports, apple will likely tweak the OS and make use of the high resolutions to avoid the above situation. It's already too hard to distinguish the pixels when the ppi is above 400, if the OS still runs at low resolutions it'll be just a waste of battery and cost

posted on 12 May 2014, 18:08 4

17. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3606; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


Contrary to public belief, there are quite a few benefits from having a high density screen, the most notable of which is a reduction in eye strain. This reduction in eye strain helps reduce the rate of onset of myopia from using devices with small screens. It is easier for the eye to focus on a well defined image of a certain size than a blurrier image (sometimes it is helpful to think of the higher definition image having a higher signal to noise ratio, so the eye/vision system can detect the signal with less strain/effort).

Also keep in mind that the human eye is capable of resolving well over 500ppi. While we cannot see individual sub-pixels at normal viewing distances, we can still see distortion and blurriness of computer screens, even when we don't register all of it consciously.

posted on 12 May 2014, 22:00 2

43. AstronautJones (Posts: 272; Member since: 01 Aug 2012)


I would point out the og retina screen got the name "retina" because Jobs claimed the pixel density was higher than the human retina could discern any further increase.
So why would they need to increase the pixel density? And how is it ground breaking and special if other phones already exist with higher resolutions?

posted on 12 May 2014, 23:43 1

46. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3606; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


I hate to sound didactic, but there is often a big difference between marketing and reality. As far as I recall, Apple claimed for "retina" that the eye could not make out individual pixels at some particular common viewing distance.

So two things:

1. The eye does not work like a computer, i.e. it doesn't "see" one pixel at a time. So while a pixel size that the eye can't resolve is most often better than a pixel size that the eye can resolve, it doesn't mean that an even smaller pixel size has no benefits when it comes to human vision. For instance, consider my example above of eye strain. The eye is not straining to read pixels one at a time like some sort of scanner. The eye is straining to recognize some shape, some image, some text. The clearer that shape, image, or text is, the less strain there is, the quicker and easier the recognition by the eye/vision system (including the brain).

2. I think for Apple's "wow" factor that it will be a mix of a few things. First, it will be doubling the screen in each dimension, giving the iPhone four times as many pixels as before. Second, Apple can easily demonstrate that "RetinaHD" is better than "Retina". After all, the eye easily resolve 500ppi and above. Third, the new screen will be combined with some sort of "sapphire", so it is very strong. There may be some advantageous optical properties of sapphire as well.

Lastly, there is an x-factor for sapphire in that Apple's fingerprint reader can work underneath sapphire, but not underneath glass. So the sapphire may be for a "touch id" that is the entire bottom part of the phone below the screen, the top above the screen, both, etc.

Keep in mind this is speculation. I think Apple has gone a long time without putting doing something special for the iPhone. RetinaHD + sapphire would be very impressive and worthy of lust. As this high resolution hasn't made it to the mass market yet, Apple could even claim to be "first".

posted on 13 May 2014, 06:44 1

50. TheOldOne (Posts: 99; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


finally someone said it. I got enough of the "everythng above 1080p is pointless" nonsese opinions.

Thank you my good sir!

I must also add that I've noticed an recent increse in the overall quality of PA comments in the past weeks.

posted on 12 May 2014, 17:35 3

6. izim1 (Posts: 74; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


I must be the minority by far but I so do not want a large phone. They're getting ridiculous and my options are limited to maybe a moto x or a mini flagship without flagship specs or apple. I have the HTC one m7 at the moment and I'm finding it too big to carry around. if Apple can put out a small 4.7 I'm going to the dark side.

posted on 12 May 2014, 18:00 2

15. GreekGeek (Posts: 844; Member since: 22 Mar 2014)


It's all about trade offs and getting-used-to-it dude, coming from an iPhone 4s myself , I swear to God I will never go back to 4 inch phones

I don't mind the bulk in my pocket for as long as I am enjoying my media content more

posted on 12 May 2014, 18:11 1

18. izim1 (Posts: 74; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


No. I've pretty much had HTC since the touch pro 2. I know all about bricks. Then the hd2 came out and I thought it was awesome. Large enough and thin enough. But I have no use for huge screen phones. The trade off for me isn't worth it and I have zero desire to "get used to it". And because I'm in the minority I'm S.O.L because all the flagships are reaching tablet size. I still use my phone to make calls. You know how ridiculous that looks? moto x or iPhone seem to be my only choices as I can't get a Z1 compact here.

posted on 13 May 2014, 01:45 1

47. Ashoaib (Posts: 2374; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


I am also coming from 4 & 4s and I will not go back to apple again bcoz I have used other phones and I know apple is over hyped, over price ordinary phone

posted on 12 May 2014, 17:40

7. albakri10 (Posts: 13; Member since: 02 Mar 2014)


LG G3 will change the Percentage by LG G3 5.5 inches....

posted on 12 May 2014, 17:52 4

12. amiaq (Posts: 495; Member since: 30 Jun 2012)


iApple answer to android KitKat, iCopy Cat!! Who's copying who now? you piece of crap.

posted on 13 May 2014, 06:55

51. TheOldOne (Posts: 99; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


who cares? They will copy and make a better product, then Samsung will copy to get better products to cope with the competition, ans so on. Guess what: more and better choices for me and you in the near future, and this is how the technology and innovation happens - small gradual improvments, aka evolution. They are not *inventing* anything; smartphones, tables and smartwatches are quite old and they were not the first ones building such devices in the first place).

I don't shed a tear for any of these lawsuits we hear everey day. I will still buy (what I think at that moment for me is) the best product anyway.

"Girls don't cry over Louie / He wouldn't waste a tear on you." - Vaya con Dios.

posted on 12 May 2014, 17:59 3

14. darkkjedii (Posts: 12373; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Release that 5.5 in. model, and I'll be rite there to snatch one up. Camping out for this, if it comes out.

posted on 12 May 2014, 18:12 2

19. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3606; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


If Apple comes out with a RetinaHD 5.5" phone with sapphire, I think you'll have a lot of company in that line :)

posted on 12 May 2014, 18:23 3

22. AfterShock (Posts: 2895; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)


I have to agree, it'll keep the loyal an fence sitters will be knocked off.

posted on 12 May 2014, 19:14 4

32. Arte-8800 (banned) (Posts: 4562; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)


Grown middle aged man like him along with his middle aged wife camping outside lmfao

Grow up he should act his age

Temptation it's a natural thing but irresistible

Only cults and hippies and paid users camp outside

posted on 12 May 2014, 19:26

34. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3606; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


Don't forget trust fund kids -- young and old.

posted on 12 May 2014, 19:33 2

36. Arte-8800 (banned) (Posts: 4562; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)


Lmfao

posted on 12 May 2014, 19:54

39. darkkjedii (Posts: 12373; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


So is this post somehow supposed to make me not camp out TrollTM?

posted on 13 May 2014, 01:50 1

48. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5921; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Even at a price point of say, $900 off contract ($350 - $400 on contract) for 16 Gb? Would you still camp out to get an iP6 XL? Have you decided to accept the power switch move to the RHS of the phone?

Personally, I think the Note 4 (which should be shipping in Oct/Nov 2014) would offer more value for about the same price point (maybe even lower price point for the Note 4).

posted on 13 May 2014, 05:10 1

49. Cicero (Posts: 434; Member since: 22 Jan 2014)


And what to do with ios. Maybe playing games. For the rest is obsolete.

posted on 12 May 2014, 18:02 1

16. acharlest (Posts: 8; Member since: 19 Jul 2012)


It's not about copying. It's about keeping up with the competition. For some odd reason, consumers want giant screens. If Apple doesn't release an iPhone with a larger screen, they will lose customers. When the Note got popular, people were jumping to that from iPhone due to the screen size. Fanboys need to quit worrying about who's copying who and be happy that we live in a world with all this advanced technology.

posted on 12 May 2014, 18:14 2

20. PBXtech (Posts: 980; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)


And history all but forgets about the Dell Streak.

posted on 12 May 2014, 18:21

21. nctx77 (Posts: 556; Member since: 03 Sep 2013)


Alan, the fact that they will be releasing a 5.5 inch version pretty much make this article pointless. It doesn't matter if the smaller one in 4.7. Neither one is all that far from the so called sweet spot of 5 inch. Besides, most of the popular flagships have passed 5 inches except the M8, so 5.5 seems like it's becoming the sweet spot.

posted on 13 May 2014, 11:09

55. Alan01 (Posts: 199; Member since: 21 Mar 2012)


But the problem is that so far, 99% of the leaks are the 4.7 phone. Yes, that doesn't mean that the 5.5 incher isn't coming, but let's face it...we know an iPhone 6 is on the way. The phablet may or may not appear.

Alan F.

posted on 12 May 2014, 18:33 3

23. -box- (Posts: 3858; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


The iphones' screens are laughably small. I can barely fathom how their owners tolerate them with the awfully large bezels (top and bottom), plus the terrible design with the rough (despite the chamfers) edges, and miniscule screen. I can't comfortably use anything smaller than 4.3", but prefer 4.5-6" diagonal, like my Lumia 925. I tried a Lumia 1520 at the Microsoft Store the other day and loved the overall feel and design and especially the keyboard, and still found it pleasantly pocketable, but realized it would take some getting used to were I to ever get one, but between it and a same-specced 5.5" I might gravitate to the 5.5"

posted on 12 May 2014, 18:39 1

25. darkkjedii (Posts: 12373; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


We tolerate them, cuz everything else is so good. Eco system, looks, performance, support, and resale value.

posted on 12 May 2014, 18:44 4

27. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3606; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


This why I left the iPhone world -- tiny screens. I moved to Samsung phones and have a Note 3 which I can't carry around like a small iPhone, but when I am using it, the experience is much more enjoyable.

But now that Samsung has locked down their phones and made them unrootable (on ATT), there is no reason not to look at iPhones again. Basically Samsung took "the beauty of Android" and threw it all away. Of course, something like the OnePlus One is also quite compelling to me as the price will be 1/3 that of a new iPhone 6 of comparable size, and the OnePlus One is unlocked and easily rooted.

posted on 12 May 2014, 18:46

28. nctx77 (Posts: 556; Member since: 03 Sep 2013)


Good ol android fanboys trying to get in the, "your screen is to small" comments before this summer/Fall LOL!

posted on 12 May 2014, 18:58 3

30. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3606; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


The iPhone screen is small. Try sharing a YouTube video on an iPhone 5 vs. a Note 3. They iPhone looks like it made for children it is so small. I used to have an iPhone, but Apple lost me with the small screen and the forced advertisements in Safari (i.e. no AdBlock).

posted on 12 May 2014, 19:29 2

35. PBXtech (Posts: 980; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)


Apple is admitting that by increasing the screen sizes. What's your point?

posted on 12 May 2014, 19:34 2

37. Arte-8800 (banned) (Posts: 4562; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)


Closed restricted platform

Featureless specs

posted on 12 May 2014, 19:39

38. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3606; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


The point is that like Phil Schiller said, that customers want larger screens. It is not some "fanboy" issue.

posted on 12 May 2014, 18:43 1

26. networkdood (Posts: 6310; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Apple would be smart to have larger phones... It will stop me from making fun of iPhone users...
Currently, I use the 7 inch behemoth Coolpad 9976A...codenamed Great God. I already sold my tiny 5 inch Nexus 5 in anticipation of the OnePlus One...

posted on 12 May 2014, 18:49 3

29. eman99 (Posts: 238; Member since: 03 Aug 2010)


just a bigger screen with bigger grid and app icons

posted on 12 May 2014, 20:16 1

40. JasmineLovesTech (Posts: 7; Member since: 04 May 2014)


Two sizes 4" and 5" would be perfect. :)

posted on 12 May 2014, 23:07 2

44. networkdood (Posts: 6310; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Last time I purchased a 4 inch screen phone was July 2010....

posted on 12 May 2014, 23:17 3

45. zachattack (Posts: 590; Member since: 31 Jul 2013)


Too bad it doesn't matter what size their screens are. They will be cluttered by apps and you won't see any of the background. Their crap OS will never be good because of that so go ahead make a 5 inch or 4.7 Inc screen it won't matter!

posted on 13 May 2014, 07:25

52. 7thspaceman (Posts: 1119; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)


so many people use smart phones theses' days to view Music video's, Movies, Maps, read documents. E-books, play games and Internet based TV, that if a smart phone screen is less than 4.5 inches it's not fun to use unless it's a 4 inch budget smart like a budget smart phone like 4 inch smart phone like a nokia lumia 525.

posted on 13 May 2014, 07:49

53. jroc74 (Posts: 5192; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


See....this is exactly what I meant by ...trend setting. Me and a guy on here had a lil debate about Apple being trend setters. I kindly explained that Apple isnt that much anymore....one example was larger phones.

Thanks for this article to back up my point.

posted on 13 May 2014, 08:20

54. iampayne (Posts: 248; Member since: 12 Aug 2013)


Honestly I refuse to believe Apple is releasing 2 phones with 2 different screen sizes. The ONLY possible way I see this happening is if both phones have the same resolution to scale apps the same, like the iPad and iPad Mini. They will not force developers to make 3 different apps for 3 screen sizes, 4, 4.7 and 5.5. Maybe if they completely stop making 4" phones and push everyone to the larger phones, but I don't see this happening. The 5S will have another 2 years on the market to transition everyone to Touch ID and 64bit. In conclusion no on the 2 phone sizes.

posted on 13 May 2014, 12:48 1

56. robocopvn (Posts: 199; Member since: 10 Mar 2010)


since android jelly bean, who's the follower now huh ?

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