By Jim Karpen on Mon, 06/17/2013
Late last week Reuters reported Apple is exploring launching iPhones with 4.7- and 5.7-inch screens throughout the next year, as well as phones in multiple colors. They say their info is from four different sources "with knowledge of the matter." The larger-sized phones are sometimes referred to as "phablets," which is becoming a generic term for devices that are a cross between a phone and a tablet. If the larger phones reach market, Reuters said it would be next year. And they say Apple is exploring "at least" two different models. But the article makes clear that Apple is always developing prototypes, trying to identify devices that provide the best experience. And one never knows whether they'll actually come out with these. But clearly they're seriously investigating iPhones with larger screens.
The report also says Apple is expected to launch a cheaper iPhone in the $99 range that would come in 5–6 different colors. This is in line with other rumors, and the new phone would likely be introduced along with the iPhone 5S, which everyone is expecting to arrive in September.
Many analysts have been insisting that Apple needs to offer more phone options, pointing to Samsung's proliferation of models. Apple, however, has always said that more isn't necessarily better. They would prefer to come out with one new phone a year and focus on optimal user experience. It will be very interesting to see what direction Apple takes. At times like these, one wonders what Steve Jobs would have done. He seemed never to have any doubts, never to be ambivalent. Would he have continued with a narrow product line, which might be better in terms of profit margin, or would he have decided to go ahead and launch a variety of iPhones?
Personally, instead of offering larger iPhones, I wish Apple would simply sell a version of the iPad mini with a phone built in.