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This fall, Apple is rumored to unveil not one, but two new iPhones: one with a 4.7-inch display, and a larger 5.5-inch model. The move doesn’t really echo the company’s previous handset strategy, but it’s not hard to see why it would make sense.

When it comes to smartphone displays, big is in. According to a new report from Canalys, sales of smartphones with displays 5-inches or larger grew 369% last quarter, and they accounted for more than 1/3 of all smartphones sold worldwide…

Here’s a breakdown of smartphone sales by display size:

chartSPpress

And here’s an excerpt from Canalys’ report (via MacRumors):

This is still a market segment led by Samsung, but the trend is unmistakably toward larger-screen handsets at the high end of the market. […] Consumers now expect high-end devices to have large displays, and Apple’s absence in this market will clearly not last long. It is notable that 5″ and above displays featured on almost half (47%) of smart phones with an unlocked retail price of US$500 or more. Of the remaining 53% of high-end smart phones, 87% were iPhones. Apple plainly needs a larger-screen smart phone to remain competitive, and it will look to address this in the coming months.

Of course, Apple knows how popular smartphones with larger displays are right now. Internal slides from the company surfaced during the Samsung trial last month showing that they are aware of the trend, and looking for a way to respond to it.

Perhaps they’ve found it. The consensus is that Apple will release two new handsets this fall with larger, higher resolution displays  and other improvements. There’s no word on a launch date yet, but reports say we could see them as soon as August.

What’s your take on all of this? Will your next smartphone have a display larger than 5-inches?