Is Apple testing a plus-sized iPhone 'phablet'?

The iPhone 4 had 3.5-inch screen. The iPhone 5 got 4 inches of real estate. Now is Apple aiming even bigger? 

A man tries Apple's iPhone at its showroom in Beijing September 5, 2013. Apple is rumored to be testing iPhones with screens as large as 6 inches.

If you pay even passing attention to the tech world, you undoubtedly know that later this month, Apple will almost certainly release a new flagship smart phone, most likely called the iPhone 5S. (The debut of a budget handset, identified in the press as the iPhone 5C, is also considered likely.) 

But according to the Wall Street Journal, in the meantime, Apple is working on prototypes for a few larger devices – including smart phones with displays between 4 and 6 inches. Apple, of course, has already upped the size of its smart phone, from the 3.5-inch display on the iPhone 4 to the 4-inch display on the iPhone 5. But a 6-inch screen would be another beast altogether. In fact, it would bring the iPhone squarely into phablet territory. 

"[P]eople familiar with the company's internal deliberations and plans indicate it appears more willing to move ahead [with a larger iPhone] than in years past," the WSJ reports. "Component suppliers say Apple already began testing larger screens for iPhones in recent months. Apple has been particularly interested in recent tests for a 4.8-inch screen, these people say." 

Unsurprisingly, Apple isn't talking. 

But we certainly believe that Apple has at least considered the possibility of upping the screen size on the iPhone. After all, phablets are a growing market, especially in Asia. The analytics firm IDC recently published a report indicating that Asian device vendors shipped 25.2 million phablets in 2013 Q2, compared with 12.6 million tablets, and 12.7 million portable PCs. In other words, in that part of the world, phablets are more popular than laptops or tablets. 

"Phablets first started as a trend driven by mature markets like South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore – and these markets continue to rise," IDC's Melissa Chau wrote. "What's changed now is the added pick up of phablets in emerging markets like China and India, not just the plethora of big-name vendors competing head-to-head with Samsung, but instead the low-cost local players who have swooped in to offer big screens for less money." 

For Apple, that's a particularly attractive market. 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Is Apple testing a plus-sized iPhone 'phablet'?
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today