We're thrilled to announce the return of GamesBeat Next, hosted in San Francisco this October, where we will explore the theme of "Playing the Edge." Apply to speak here and learn more about sponsorship opportunities here. At the event, we will also announce 25 top game startups as the 2024 Game Changers. Apply or nominate today!

iPhone 5 handson12

While we’ve been hearing quite a bit about Apple’s plans for a cheaper iPhone over the past few months, the company’s plans to go bigger have been more cloudy.

Now it sounds like Apple aims to go into phablet territory, a term for giant smartphones over 5-inches that may as well be tablets. Apple is reportedly exploring bigger iPhone models for 2014 with 4.7-inch and 5.7 inch screens, Reuters reports.

It certainly makes sense for Apple to release a 4.7-inch iPhone, since that’s pretty much the standard size for Android smartphone screens these days. But the prospect of a 5.7-inch iPhone is a bit more surprising, especially after Apple has held strong with its smaller-than-the-competition iPhone screens over the past few years. Recent research shows that consumers want both iPhones and phablets, so Apple has a huge opportunity by combining the two.

It could just be that we’re hearing early talks about how Apple is planning to take on Samsung, which has leveraged its big and bright screens to become an Android powerhouse. Samsung also helped to popularize the phablet category with its Galaxy Note series, which have typically had screen sizes around 5.5-inches.

“They [Apple] constantly change product specifications almost to the final moment, so you’re not really sure whether this is the final prototype,” one source told Reuters of the bigger iPhone.

When it comes to Apple’s iPhone launches for this year, Reuters adds weight to the rumors that we’ll see cheap models in multiple colors and plastic cases, as well as a slightly revamped iPhone 5S. Apple will reportedly add fingerprint scanning technology to the iPhone 5S (which seems like a curious addition at this point), and it’s expected to keep the same 4-inch screen as the iPhone 5.

Apple is reportedly exploring a $99 price for the cheaper iPhone. The company currently offers the iPhone 4S for that price, but it could be worth developing a phone that’s cheaper to build at that price for the higher margins.

Photo: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Discover our Briefings.