According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is reportedly experimenting with larger screens for its iPad and iPhone devices. If reports are true, this could represent a change in direction for Apple, which has generally opposed increasing the size of the screens found on its iDevices.
Officials from the company’s suppliers have reported that Apple has been testing phone screens larger than 4 inches, and tablet screens around 13 inches, indicating Apple is experimenting with a range of new form factors for its devices. The iPhone 5 currently sports a 4-inch screen, whereas the iPad has a 9.7-inch screen, and the iPad mini a 7.9-inch display.
Until last year, where the display found on the iPhone was increased from 3.5 to 4-inches, Apple has bucked the trend set by many Android manufacturers, which have drastically increased the screen size of many of their devices year on year. This has lead to the creation of ‘phablet’ devices, phones that blur the distinction between phones and tablets, much like the 5.8-inch Samsung Galaxy Mega, and the 6.4-inch Sony Xperia Z Ultra.
Sales of phablet devices account for a large chunk of the smartphone market; IHS estimate around 25.6 million phablet devices were sold during 2012, a figure set to grow to 60.4 million by the end of 2013, and 146 million by 2016. Should the reports from the WSJ be true, this could be Apple’s next step in challenging Android’s increasing dominance over the smartphone market.
This latest report comes in as Apple prepares the release of a refreshed version of its iPhone device, which will see its announcement later this year. It has been reported the refreshed iPhone will use the same size screen and the same resolution as Apple’s current offering, and will be launched alongside a new, less expensive iPhone designed for emerging markets including China and India. As such, we may have to wait until 2014 before Apple announces larger versions of its iPhone and iPad devices.