iPhone 6 concept (NowhereElse and Martin Hajek 001)

According to Apple’s internal survey conducted with early iPhone 5 buyers, the company was well aware it didn’t have what consumers wanted most, as far back as the Fall of 2012.

An internal research note from Apple’s lawsuit with Samsung, published by Business Insider reporter Jay Yarrow, indicates the one thing iPhone 5 buyers wanted most was longer battery life, hardly a surprise as the longer-lasting battery is the most frequently cited complaint among smartphone buyers in general.

Early iPhone 5 adopters were also asking for a much improved built-in Apple Maps application, the #2 item on the wish list, and a bigger screen as the third most often requested feature. We’re of course expecting iPhones with bigger screens in the second half of this year.

If there’s any substance to the rumors floating around, Apple is working on a 4.7-inch iPhone and another one with a screen measuring between five and 5.7 inches diagonally, although the latter model could be delayed over issues with in-cell production technology for the larger screen size…

Here’s the image presented at the trial that Yarrow tweeted out this morning.

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The research was conducted shortly after the iPhone 5 landed on store shelves, indicating the firm has been aware of consumer preference for a year and a half now.

According to internal Apple slides presented at the trial, Apple is very much aware that the iPhone growth has been slowing as consumers increasingly opt for sub-$300 handsets with screen sizes larger than the iPhone’s four inches.

The contract-free iPhone 5s is a $650 value in the United States.

But why did Apple agree to make public such a crucial survey?

The company didn’t really have a choice: once it went to court with Samsung, a treasure trove of internal emails were made public, providing a unique insight into Apple’s development process for the iPhone.

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One particular slide attributes the slow-down in iPhone growth to the following three factors: competitors which have “drastically” improved their hardware “and in some cases their ecosystem,” consumers who want cheaper phones with bigger screens and carriers who have strong interest in capping the iPhone due to high subsidy, the handset’s high share of the premium market and Apple’s unwillingness to play ball with the carriers.

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Is there any doubt left that 2014 will be the year of an iPhablet?

According to our non-scientific poll, more than one-third of respondents feel that 4.7 inches should be the new gold standard for iPhones.

iPhone 6 rendering top of post via Martin Hajek.