Apple is reportedly “exploring” larger-screen iPhones in response to the growing trend for bigger devices, Reuters reports, citing “sources, including those in the supply chain in Asia”.
The Cupertino company is apparently looking at 4.7-inch and 5.7-inch screens, giving it a presence in the large smartphone and phablet markets, respectively.
While device screens have been creeping up in size, Apple has largely bucked this trend, sticking with 3.5-inch screens up to the iPhone 4S, before making an incremental shift to 4-inch for the iPhone 5.
The report notes that it is “still unclear whether Apple will actually launch its flagship product in larger sizes”.
Despite its resistance to following rivals such as Samsung, HTC and Sony with their large-screen flagships, Apple’s iPhone sales have not notably suffered.
Indeed, Samsung has recently announced a device in its Galaxy S4 line with a smaller screen – although in terms of specifications the Galaxy S4 Mini is far removed from the flagship – while HTC is apparently mulling a smaller sibling for its One device.
It was also suggested that Apple will announce two iPhones this year – an incremental upgrade to the flagship called iPhone 5S, and a low-cost version with plastic casing and multiple colours.
While iPhone sales are still strong, growth is slowing due to the fact that the high-end market is reaching saturation, increasing Apple’s exposure to slowing replacement cycles.
A large-screen device, or a low-cost product, would enable it to tap different potential buyers beyond the core iPhone proposition.