Next week, we’ll see Apple’s new improved iPhone 5S and and the new cheaper, colorful iPhone 5C, and possibly even an iPhone 6. What we certainly won’t see is a large phablet-style iPhone with a big 4.8″ to 6″ screen.
But it’s likely coming, according to one analyst.
Calling the shift to larger screen sizes “one of the bricks in the wall of worry” about Apple’s future in mobile technology, Cantor Fitzgerald‘s Brian White said that a “Mega iPhone” would help in China and the rest of Asia. And that it’s been in the works for quite some time.
“At the end of last year, our research in Asia uncovered early stage work on iPhones with a larger screen size,” White wrote this morning. “A lower price point with the iPhone 5C should help Apple in China; however, we believe a mega-sized smartphone, or ‘iPhad’ device, has the potential to provide a further boost to sales.”
The Wall Street Journal has also picked up on the larger iPhone rumor, White notes, and while there’s no likelihood that Apple will launch the larger phone next week, he expects it to hit the market in 2014.
Just this morning, images of the new Nokia Lumia 1520 leaked, indicating it would be the first 6-inch Windows Phone. And large 5 inch and higher Android smartphones are common in China, where they’re both a fashion statement and a way to own one device that does multiple jobs: communication, work, and entertainment.
Asia is a critical market for Apple.
It’s the fast-growing mobile market. Chinese citizens bought 88 million smartphones last quarter, compared to 33 million in the U.S. Now that Apple has fallen to seventh place and also-ran status in China, the iPhone 5C won’t be enough to catapult it back into contention, White says, suggesting that a larger iPhone just might do the trick.
While a massive 6-inch iPhone would likely be too close to the iPad Mini’s 7.9-inch screen, a 5-inch model would hit the sweet spot for those who don’t want a pocketable phone as much as they want a single device that does it all.