iPhone launch: Size matters as rumours gather that Apple will launch phablet-sized mobiles

Phablet sales in the Asian-Pacific region rose by 620 per cent from 2012 to 2013, with most of the sales thanks to Samsung's Galaxy Note

Ahead of Apple's launch of two new smartphones, reports have emerged that the company is also considering iPhones with larger screens, ranging from 4.8 to 6-inches.

The news suggests that the company is continuing to transform its approach to the mobile market as it becomes increasingly threatened by the likes of Samsung.

The South Korean electronics giant became the world’s largest smartphone maker in July this year, with many analysts crediting its success to a diverse product line-up.

Samsung is credited with popularising the phablet format – smartphones with screens between 5 and 6.9-inches. This form factor has proved particularly popular in the Asian-Pacific region, responsible for driving much of the growth in the smartphone market.

Reports from industry analysts IDC says that the region sold as many phablets as tablets and laptops combined in the second quarter of 2013, with around 25.2m units shipped, compared to 12.6m tablets (over 7-inches in screen size) and 12.7m laptops. This represents a dramatic 620 per cent increase from the same quarter in 2012.

Samsung has proved especially prescient in predicting this demand. In the fourth quarter of 2011 their Galaxy Note range captured 90 per cent of the market

Although this dominance has been eroded as other manufacturers have caught on, the Note range still accounts for nearly half of all phablets sold in the region. The latest version of the device, the Note III, was launched at IFA yesterday with a 5.7-inch screen, 1.9GHz quad-core processor and 32GB of internal storage.

It seems that Apple is too late to take advantage of 2013’s boom for phablets, but that might be wise considering that some analysts believe their popularity will be relatively short-lived.

Sources familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal that Apple had shown particular interest in the 4.8-inch screen size; an option that might prove a reasonable compromise between the iPhone 5’s 4-inch screen and larger phablet sizes.  

Up until now the company has been unwilling to diversify its flag-ship smartphone, but with next week’s product launch expected to feature a cheaper iPhone model (the colourfully plastic-backed iPhone 5C) it seems that the company has acceded to market pressures.

Diversification wouldn’t be without precedent however, with the iPod receiving a similar treatment years after its 2001 launch. As rival manufacturers began producing MP3 players catering to different tastes, Apple began offering more flavours of iPpod. These included the Mini in 2004, the Nano in 2005, the Shuffle in the same year, and the Touch from 2007.

The WSJ also notes a key difference between Samsung and Apple when it comes to responding to market demands: the South Korean company controls the entire manufacturing process for its smartphones allowing them to bring a product to market speedily, whilst Apple relies on a spread of different suppliers which take time to co-ordinate.

Smasung’s strategies certainly seem to be paying off. Its market share of global smartphone sales rose from 30 to 32 per cent in the second quarter of 2013 whilst Apple’s share sales fell from 19 to 14 per cent over the same period.

There is some hope for Apple though, with CEO Tim Cook recently reporting that sales of older, cheaper iPhone models in emerging markets had grown by more than 400 per cent in the third quarter of 2013. With these figures in mind and the iPhone 5C on the horizon, we can expect more good news for Apple in the future.

Follow the iPhone launch LIVE

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

    Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

    Ashdown Group: Linux Administrator - London - £50,000

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator ...

    Ashdown Group: Business Intelligence Analyst - London - £45,000

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SQL Server Reporting Analyst (Busine...

    Day In a Page

    Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

    Harry Kane interview

    The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
    The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review