Analyst: Apple is ‘leaving money on the table’ by not pursuing phablets


With half the respondents voting for an Apple phablet in our non-scientific poll and the growing number of pundits making the case for a 5+ inch form-factor iOS device, little wonder that analyst are joining the fray and calling for a jumbo-sized iPhone. A good example is Sterne Agee’s Shaw Wu, who opines that Apple is losing out by not pursuing a phablet of its own.

We’re not sure what to make of this. Apple under Steve Jobs stubbornly stuck with the ‘3.5 inch fits all’ philosophy. With the iPhone 5, four inch became the new 3.5 inch. But with the growing number of users yearning for an even larger iPhone and with ten million Galaxy Notes shipped in 2012 and another ten million expected in 2013, maybe analysts are right…

From Wu’s note to investors (via AppleInsider):

We believe AAPL is leaving money on the table by not participating in larger touchscreen form factors. But more importantly, we believe AAPL needs to reclaim high-end leadership as that is what brand is about. Sure, iOS, iTunes and the App Store are great, but it is clear that many customers want larger screens.

Now, Tim Cook is certainly his own man and I’d guess that anything is possible. We have yet to see whether Cook is married to the four-inch form factor because the iPhone 5, after all, is a Steve Jobs product.

iPhone illustration (Felipe Luchi 001)
This iPhone illustration for Go Outside Magazine via Brazilian illustrator Felipe Luchi.

For what it’s worth, Cookl told investors on a conference call that Apple (for now) is rolling with four-inch designs:

We put a lot of thinking into screen size and believe we picked the right one.

We shall see what the future holds.

The fairly accurate Japanese blog Macotakara claimed in March 2012 that Apple was working on a brand new iOS gadget, due in 2013 and sporting a display measuring five inches diagonally and having a 1,600-by-960 or 1,28-by-960 pixel resolution.

Heck, even Steve Wozniak is warmed up to the idea of a Gorilla-sized iPhone. According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, the WPP-owned market analysts, there’s a correlation between screen sizes and usage patterns.

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech (Q212, smartphone screen size)

In a nutshell, owners of bigger smartphones surf the web and watch videos more often than those who have devices with smaller displays. And the more people interact with their devices, the more likely they are to remain loyal to the brand.

iPhone 5 Galaxy S III

I wouldn’t rule out an Apple phablet, especially in light of surprising sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Note. According to Ben Reitzes of Barclays, sales of 5-inch phablets will grow from 27 million in 2012 to an astounding 230 million in 2015.

By the way, the South Korean maker just acquired a five percent stake in graphics tablet maker Wacom, apparently in a bid to double down on the stylus.

I’m not saying Apple should make a stylus-based device for the heck of it.

But something between the four-inch iPhone/iPod touch and the 7.9-inch iPad mini would admittedly make up for an excellent media consumption device.


It would also be the perfect portable app machine and handheld gaming console.

Last month, China Times cited Taiwan-based Commercial Times which predicted one of the 2013 iPhones would be a larger 4.8-inch model.

Sources who spoke to DigiTimes said ‘no’, adding such a device is slated for a 2014 introduction.

Do we really need a bigger iPhone?

And would you buy one?