So where's the bigger iPhone?

So where's the 5-inch iPhone?

Rumors of a bigger iPhone, though not as persistent as rumors of a less-expensive iPhone, have persisted for a couple of years now. While rumors of less-expensive iPhone, in the form of an iPhone 5c, have increased, parts have leaked out, and it seems like a real possibility for release this year - perhaps as soon as the iPhone event on September 10 - not so for the bigger iPhone. For the bigger iPhone, there have been no name leaks, no part leaks, no nothing. So where is it?

The big fallacy about big phones

Big phones are nowhere nearly as popular as people - especially tech geeks - think they are, at least not in North America.

Back in January of 2013, 9 out of 10 customers on AT&T chose the 3.5 or 4-inch iPhone over all other smartphones, including all bigger smartphones, combined. 6 out of 10 customers on Verizon did likewise. In the last quarter, reported in July of 2013, more than 5 out of 10 customers on both AT&T and Verizon still chose the 3.5 or 4-inch iPhone over all other smartphones, despite the iPhone 5 being halfway through its product cycle, and the presence of newer, bigger rivals like the enormous Samsung Galaxy S4 and the gorgeous HTC One, as well as various other, larger Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phones.

Again, those aren't just iPhone vs. big phone numbers. Those are iPhone vs. all other smartphone numbers, small, medium, and large. And given those numbers, there's nothing but predictions and smitten tech journalists and geeks - including yours truly - wishing it so to support the argument that Apple needs to make a bigger iPhone.

It's also not the only answer.

Bigger phones as faster horses

A bigger iPhone is only one solution to a specific set of problems, and Apple is famous for thinking differently.

When people said they wanted a netbook, Apple understood they wanted lighter and smaller, and gave them the MacBook Air, and cheaper, and gave them the iPad. When people said they wanted multitasking on iOS, Apple understood they wanted to play Pandora while surfing the web or answer Skype calls while checking their email, and gave them specific API for just that. When people say they want bigger iPhones so its easier to read and they can see more content, Apple might, for example, give them iOS 7 Text Kit and deference and call it a day.

People tend to describe the solutions they think they need rather than the problems they're experiencing, yet many companies respond to the former rather than doing the much harder job of figuring out the latter. Not Apple. Apple figures the hell out of that type of stuff.

Yet a bigger iPhone does best address one specific problem.

Bigger phones for more of the market

Despite the lack of market demand and the potential to solve some of the problems in other ways, there's still a couple of reasons Apple might be considering a bigger iPhone.

First, bigger can be better for some specific use cases. It also increases addressable market. That's why we have two sizes of iPad now.

Right now, if a customer does want a bigger than 4-inch phone for their use case, they have to choose between the iPhone and something else. Even if vast amounts of customers, like AT&T in January 2013, or just over half like AT&T and Verizon in July of 2013 do indeed choose iPhone, some portion of the other half - and we still don't know how big that portion is - chose to give up on Apple and go with a larger display.

That's not dissimilar to 2008-2010 when the iPhone was only available on AT&T, and that meant no iPhone for people for whom staying with another carrier was more important than running iOS. In order to continue to grow, however, Apple wanted to reach those customers. So, in 2011 they came to terms with Verizon, then Sprint in 2012, then T-Mobile in 2013, and now there's almost no carrier barrier for the iPhone in the U.S.

As smartphone penetration increases, and higher end smartphone sales head towards saturation, increasing addressable market in other ways becomes just as important to growth. The iPhone 5c could do that for people for whom price is more important than running iOS. A theoretical bigger iPhone could do that for people for whom size is more important that running iOS.

There's currently three ways other companies compete with Apple in phones: price, size, and not being Apple. The last one will always be there, the first one looks like it's about to be addressed, and that leaves just one more on the table.

The road to 5-inches (redux)

Back in January I did some math and figured out that if Apple used the iPhone 5 display at iPad 4 density, it would result in a nearly 5-inch iPhone. That's exactly the reverse of what Apple did when they used the iPad 2 display at iPhone 3GS density, and shrank it down from 9.7- to 7.9-inches for the iPad mini.

That approach seems to fit Apple's pattern of making life as easy as possible for manufacturers and developers by sticking to the same screen densities and display targets. However, even if held slightly further from the eye by virtue of its slightly larger size, such a 5-inch iPhone wouldn't be as sharp as the current 4-inch iPhone 5, much less 1080p, 400+ppi Android phones, and iOS 6 and previous-style interface elements would be a little big.

Apple could mitigate against that by going to 4.7-inches, or even 4.3 inches (what Android manufacturers absurdly call "mini" these days") but it would mean not using the iPad 4 display density, adding slight complexity to manufacturing, and it may not be "big enough" to expand the addressable market enough to warrant the additional product line.

Apple could also mitigate by going to @3x resolution - 1704x960 at 391ppi - but that also adds complexity to manufacturing, would compel developers to create a @3x assets for their apps, and for all the gain in pixel count, still doesn't hit 1080p. Going to 1080p throws all of Apple's old conventions out the window, and going to @4x resolution - 2272x1280 at 522ppi - even at 5-inches is, frankly, insane.

All this by way of pointing out it's far easier to say "Apple should make a big iPhone" than it is for Apple to do what they'd insist on doing - making a great big iPhone.

iOS 7 and a bigger iPhone

One of the biggest differences between previous speculation about a bigger iPhone and now is iOS 7. When a company like Apple goes to all the trouble of building a physics and particle engine to support their interface, when they objectify it and gamify it and make it a dynamic, living thing, it opens up a lot of potential. When you add Text Kit to mix, and the design language in general, and when you see what it all looks and feels like on an iPad mini, then the possibilities for a bigger iPhone next year become infinitely more exciting.

So where is it already?

To date, Apple hasn't expanded the iPhone line. Ever. Apple has stuck to one new phone a year, every year, since 2007. (And most years they hit constraints even doing that.) This year, we're almost certainly getting an iPhone 5s-class update to the existing like. If we also get the less expensive iPhone 5c, it'll be the first time we to two new phones a year. It's not impossible to imagine them eventually going to three new phones, but it's difficult, and certainly not all at once. Two phones, like two tablets, two MacBook Airs and Pros, and two iMacs, would seem to serve the biggest swathe of the addressable market with the smallest range of products.

The less expensive iPhone was under consideration for many years, and Apple seems to have waited to get it exactly where they wanted it to be, in terms of cost and quality, before moving it into production. I wouldn't at all be surprised if the bigger iPhone was going through a similar process now, with Apple making sure that if and when they do start to kick it out the door, it's an Apple product, from display to positioning, that gets the kick.

Maybe that'll be next year.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 136 comments. Add yours.

kch50428 says:

Apple should just put phone hardware in the iPad mini and be done with it...

Gazoobee says:

Plus a million. I would love this. So fed up with the whole iPhone thing and I don't want to carry two devices all the time.

vesperdem says:

So why not pay for Skype and use the iPad mini as a phone? Skype can receive calls from normal phones as well as other Skype users. It runs in the background now.

Juan Madrigal says:

Google Voice? You have options already.

GV lets you text and make free phone calls throughout US and Canada I believe.

Gazoobee says:

There are "options" but that doesn't mean there is a phone. I could write paragraphs on why the current options don't actually work for a lot of regular people as a phone but suffice to say pointing to a techie/weird/partial solution is not a proper response.

I particular, Skype doesn't work in Canada in that you can't get an actual phone number from Skype in Canada (or lots of places actually), and GV is just a bad VoIP service with severe limitations, and the requirement to use Google services (which many folks eschew for moral/personal reasons).

There is no real, complete "phone" solution for internet devices as of yet despite all the "options."

snookasnoo says:

Many ways to make and receive calls on an LTE iPad Mini. A guy i work with travels internationally and does all his calls from one. With better multitasking in iOS 7 is it will be even more possible.

renstein says:

My iPad Mini has LTE in it. All it needs is a phone and SMS App, oh... and carrier support. That last thing is not happening unless the carriers can control the distribution of the iPad. That is not happening. I completely agree, iPad Mini with cell capabilities and a bluetooth headset is perfect.

Juan Madrigal says:

Google Voice? text and calls.

rob90262 says:

At least a 4.5 inch screen and a lot more people will leave android and come back IMO

Sent from the iMore App

Ckidwell says:

I couldn't agree more. I don't think people chose the screen size of the iphone over all other phones like Rene started this article stating. They chose the iPhone over other platforms. I would love to have an android phone with a larger screen than my iPhone 5, but sharing photos with my wife and downloading music from one account with itunes is why I stick with it. Plus I think the iPhone has the best radios of any other phone around, and after all it is a phone.

GuyBey0ndC00L says:

I agree with you 100%. Its not a iOS issue with me cause I love iOS (iOS 7 too) its the hardware I want a better screen. Upgrade camera, ram, and processor means little to nothing for me.

mctui says:

my favourite blog as a reader of Germany :)
Certainly love Apple products and love reading about them on iMore.com! Keep up the good work and reward a frequent reader from back in the TiPB.com days

NickA says:

Great article, but I don't get it. Is it really that big of a deal to make a bigger phone? Does it literally take years? Same for the 5c. Isn't it just an iPhone with less expensive parts?

And I don't understand the numbers. If 9/10 on AT&T, and 6/10 on verizon choose the iPhone, why are there more Android phones?

I switch back to my iPhone 5 every couple of months, and use it for a few weeks. I like it, but it's just a smartphone like every other phone. How hard can it be to make it bigger? I'm not an engineer, but it seems simple. To me it seems like pride and stubbornness from Apple.

JNGold says:

Technically and logistically it's not "harder" to make the screen bigger. However, in short, there are technical issues with software that most likely come into play. If Apple makes the screen bigger, do they keep the same supported resolutions and DPI so that current and future apps still work properly? If Apple does that then do they lower the standards for what is "Retina"? Sure, Apple can make bigger screens, but there's almost a million+ reasons why thought needs to be put into the descision to go bigger. If you need an example of a fragmented and problematic ecosystem (with regards to how devs need to code to support a plethora of screen sizes), look no further than Android.

I think Rene did a great job of outlining those issues in the article above. :)

Rene Ritchie says:

It really is a big deal. It's easy to make junk. It's f'ing hard to make great products. Also, as Ben Bajarin techpinions.com will tell you, making 100,000,000 of anything is hard. Trying to do that with multiple products is insanely hard.

Apple doesn't do niche. If they swing for 5-inches, they'll swing for the stars.

richard451 says:

Apple has yet to make any product that sold 100,000,000 (and that's not that hard as much smaller companies can do it). Meaning that is a problem they need not worry about. They need to worry about making a product that can sell 50m.

NickA says:

Rene, you're putting too much weight it being "f'ing hard to make great products". We're talking about a larger screen. And Apple doesn't even make the screen, and we've seen a plethora of screen sizes from a company that makes the screen for the iPhone (or at least used to).

So really, where's the challenge? Larger screen, larger case. Don't see the issue. Apple already has a great product in the iPhone, just make it bigger. That's all in comes down to.

JNGold says:

"Larger screen, larger case. Don't see the issue."

Did you read the article?

NickA says:

Yeah, read the article or I wouldn't be commenting. If you have a legit response please share instead of questioning my reading abilities.

Other manufactures/OS's seem to have adapted, right? In fact, every OS has adapted to different screen sizes. So again, what's the big deal? If you ask Apple "Why don't you make a 5" phone?", what do you think their response would be? They obviously have some of the most talented engineers in the world, yet they can't find a way to make different size phones? Again, it's not about making phones, it's about what they "think" people want.

JNGold says:

I did make a "legit reponse" but you keep asking the same question. Your comment about other OS'es "adopting" to the situation just begs the question, "How well has an OS like Android adopted the situation"? Once again, it's not the logistics or engineering of a larger screen but rather it's effect on the million-or-so applications that make up the Apple ecosystem. No one is saying that it can't be done, it's how it should be done is the question. I would rather smaller phones than the mess that is Android.

NickA says:

Thanks for the response @JNGold.

mrjspeed says:

Maybe you should read it again, specifically the "The road to 5-inches (redux)" piece.

It isn't as simple as "make it bigger." When you truly want to make an excellent product, you need to look at things like UI element sizes and pixel-densities relative to other products that run the same software. As Rene has indicated, Apple has some options but they all come with caveats and challenges.

Kyle Staebell III says:

By "swing for the stars" do you mean apple will have glanceable data on iOS? Hasn't that been done on android and WP since their inception? So what you are saying @Rene Ritchie is that Apple will make a larger screen, and change iOS for once similar to android and WP, then take all the credit for glanceable data through their excellent marketing?

graigsmith says:

Giant phones are because the manufacturer can't figure out how to cram everything in and still have good battery life. Those new samnsung phones aren't pocketable. It's dumb.

Premium1 says:

They are plenty pocketable unless you wear skinny jeans

ArgonNJ#CB says:

Skinny jeans wearing, metrosexual hipsters and teen girls are the iphone's main user base.

Jim Gramze says:

Reference please. I just had lunch with people I've never met before. More iPhones than anything else and the ages were 60+.

GuyBey0ndC00L says:

Its just the opposite some people are getting bored with iPhone even if they might come back at a later time. Most of my friends have move on to HTC One and S4. All saying they miss iOS but screen to small.

BigReub says:

Same thing here. I miss my iPhone terribly but I just can't live with that screen. I went wp8 about 6 months ago but that didn't work out so no I'm on android. That's it. I'd go back to iOS in an instant. I'm not alone.

akdj says:

Always amazes to me someone could get 'bored' with iOS, an iPhone...any iOS device for that matter. I own both a Galaxy Note and iPhone 5 (Bought the Note specifically for business and 'Square' with the stylus for signatures). With anything 'iOS'---there's the whole 'Appy Fridays'. Can't remember which site does it...it's irrelevant. The point being...EVERY week, there are new and exciting releases for iOS. One thing I've noticed, especially with the 'large' screen Androids...many times I've bumped into apps incompatible with my 'tablet'---when in fact, the Note is a Phone, albeit a 'big' phone, the coding isn't written for the larger displays. Cool surprises like yesterday's release of Plants v Zombies 2---I own a mobile entertainment business. We've done 117 weddings this summer alone...and after 22 years in the biz, the iPad has literally transformed our business, ceremonies that we perform...and mixing Front of House from any seat in the venue....not packing milk cartons of wax or heavy CD boxes, etc. The list goes on...and while we use laptops as our primary 'source'...the iPad and iPhone can always be relied on as a contingency plan...a redundancy if the computer systems go down. dJAY 2's release a couple weeks back, another AMAZING surprise, vJAY has added a truly cool new dimension to our shows with a simple projector shot to the back wall....and the numerous synths, beat and drum pads, music recording and manipulation software....as well as photo and video management and editing, these holes can't be filled by anything in the 'Play Store'. It's a dry store, without appeal...and without the 'weekly' excitement evident in the iOS environment. While there may be synergy with the actual 'number' of apps in each store...there absolutely is NO comparison to the actual software, regardless of your hobby, job or personal enjoyments...even as a private pilot (we fly all summer doing shows across the state of Alaska---and it's the ONLY way to make it happen), the iPad/iPhone and it's numerous flight planning software with plates, Jep Chart updates, etc....I'm now flying with about 10% of the weight we use to---including the ops manual for our twin.
The Galaxy Note---we still use it once in a while for 'Square'...but other than that, the two year term can't come to an end quick enough. I've also got Square on the iPhone now...and we use it 80% of the time for transactions.

As far as innovation of a new, larger iPhone, I think it's inevitable as the competition and public buys more and more into the smart phone environment. But the iPad Mini and iPad regular fit my usage workflow a LOT better than an inch bigger on my phone. When I need actual 'size'...I prefer to use the tablets. For everything on the run, IMHO---and I'm 42 this year and about as big a tech geek as they come...and my eyes aren't what they used to be:)----the iPhone 5 is unbeatable. Again and as always YMMV....But, Bored? That just has to be a younger generation thing. iOS is as stable as it gets. It's fast, clean and easy to use UI is awesome. Takes a WHOLE lot more work on the back side to present simplicity on the front end. From there...we only do so much with the OS itself...it's the apps, the software and the ecosystem.

akdj says:

That's your rebuttal? Your wisdom? Your really lame attempt at a 'cut down'??? Go feed your spider, get out of the basement, enjoy some sunshine....maybe even get a job! I'm really sorry your mother said "Absolutely NOT" when you asked for an iPhone, iPad or a new Mac. I am...truly...sorry! But, again, if you go grab a job...or maybe you're 14? Can't get one yet?----You can still mow some yards, shovel some snow, save a few bucks and buy yourself one;)
Actually---in response to your question---I don't care much for Kool Aid. I'm more of an Oskar Blues Fan myself...Dale's Pale Ale being my favorite.

Kyle Staebell III says:

I've owned every iPhone since the 3Gs, ipad 3 and several macs. Do you seriously consider an iPhone a status symbol? God, you've drunk move of the kool aid than I initially thought.

I'm just inciting some arguments here, nothing personal though : )

Gazoobee says:

I think you're really underplaying things here and not thinking it through.

That being said, I agree about Rene's use of the statistics. I don't think it necessarily says anything about screen size choice to include iPhone sales. The metric to study is out of all Android phone sales or usage, how many are "large" screens? I think this data would show the same thing (that large screens aren't as popular as people think), but it would be a more fair comparison.

Ipheuria says:

The thing is that people don't know and that is why they think it is so easy. If Apple were to make the bigger iPhone and no apps were available because of the new resolution or they had to be updated who loses out? People are quick to say it's not a big deal Android does it, no Android doesn't do it. Android is not a manufacturer LG, Motorolla, Samsung, etc. They are the manufacturer and it is easy for them to make different size devices because the OS(Android) and the hardware are split between the companies in regards of manufacturing and updating the OS for the hardware.

Allan k1 says:

Actually, most of your are wrong. The largest amount of android phones are over 4 inches. This was about 89 percent of them. In fact, I have an HTC One and an iPhone 5. If I could put iOS in my one, I would be in heaven. You guys don't realize the difference. Its hard now to look at the little iPhone screen. It is just that Android is so buggy... :(((

If apple went big (e.g.. 4.7+) , then I am fairly certain they would capture a lot more people.

In fact, I think it would stop the loss of ones like me.

Sam Borgman says:

Yes, the calculations don't support a proper resizing but Apple already did such a size increase when they made iPhone 5. I was hoping they would make it bigger in both direction and not just elongate it. I was surprised their addiction to making compact things deluded them into not increasing the size much. If they had done it then in one go this wouldn't be a 2 step process now.

They just have to go through that one more time now. All app makers had to change their app dimensions when 5 was coming out. Why can't that happen again? It really is stupid to say its too hard to do. If Apple wanted to they could, thats the bottom line. But I'm afraid their stubborn trend of thinner, lighter, smaller makes them itch to think about making iPhone bigger. They even had to shave more from iPad Air's longer sides, making it harder for your thumbs to grab on without touching the screen.

iOSinister says:

There is a lot more to it than just mass producing and releasing an iPhone with a larger screen...

lilmoney30#WN says:

I'm thinking 4.5" would be perfect . I have a Lumia 928 and the screen size is just right .

Shameer Mulji says:

Agreed. A 4.5" iPhone with a 1280x720 screen would still retain the same 326dpi as the current iPhone. So it should be "developer friendly."

c_hack says:

Until you realize that every app would have to be redesigned for 1280 x 720 pixel. Or look like a POS stretched app. So... No... It would suck for developers. It would fragment the app design and the app market more. It would be a huge change.

NickA says:

It would not suck. It was a breeze modifying my apps to be iPhone 5 friendly. A well developed app does not require major refactoring to accommodate a different resolution or screen size.

sting7k says:

I wouldn't buy a 5" iPhone.

bassjimmy81 says:

I have a 3.5 inch iPhone and my wife has the 4 inch iPhone. I call say her phone has a bonus screen because iOS makes such good use of the screen that we don't need it to be bigger. It makes much better use of the screen than Android and that is why Android need a bigger phone and Apple doesn't. I it was and bigger then 4 inches and I put it in a tuff case it would be to big for my pocket. If you need bigger get an iPad to with your iPhone.

Sent from the iMore App

pappy53 says:

Makes better use of the screen? What does that mean? Lol.

Kyle Staebell III says:

What he means is that his iphone only really launches apps. No need for a big screened app launcher. If he want to check the weather he can open his weather app.

If it ain't broke don't fix it right buddy?

sting7k says:

I know...I have an iPhone 5. It's the perfect size.

Linebarrel86 says:

How did you flex your fingers to write that nonsense?

How exactly does it make better use of the screen?

If anything, Samsung made 'better' use of a bigger screen with its dual view, having two apps open at the same time.

akdj says:

"If anything, Samsung made 'better' use of a bigger screen with its dual view, having two apps open at the same time."
In theory---and on paper, looks great. But the two or three phones capable of doing this; A) Implement it poorly ---> IE, it sucks! Very laggy and extremely unreliable
B) Very few 'apps' allow for it's use!
Hopefully down the road it becomes more ubiquitous---both on hardware and in software, it's a very cool idea. That said---even on the largest 5-5.5" phones, I'm not so sure I need PIP;)....I can't think of many instances that I can utilize two apps at the same time (I'm a Galaxy Note owner) in my real, everyday 'phone work-flow' if that makes any sense.

graigsmith says:

Me either. The 5 is actually a little too big. Wish they had stuck with the iPhone 4 resolution.

Derrick4Real says:

i'm with you. i wouldn't buy a 5 inch phone. Not even sure i'd buy a 4.5 inch phone. Bigger doesn't do much for me

JustMe'D says:

Excellent article, and in my opinion, you are spot-on with your analogy. How well iOS 7 allows us to perform our smartphone needs will also gauge the desire or lack thereof of a bigger iPhone.

Sent from the iMore App

Elessar.cm says:

Excellent article. This gave me a better understanding of the technical challenge.
I personally carry a 4S and a BB Z10 (work & personal). I tend to use the Z10 more, because the 4.2" screen size allows me to bump up the font (aging eyes) and still use it one-handed. I also love the Hub...

I find the Z10 to be the perfect size for me. To my mind, a 4.3" screen iPhone with similar device dimensions would be perfect. I've turned down 3 company offers to switch to one of the Androids sitting on the IT room shelf -- they're just too darned big. I've held off, hoping for that rumored "mid-sized" iPhone. Fingers are still crossed.

revtech says:

Thanks Rene, not only for your always enjoyable to read thoughtful commentary, but I also made a small wager with a co-worker that the words "objectify", "gamify", and "dynamic" would be somewhere in the article . . Shall I send you a percentage for royalty? =)

I should add that I would be really excited about what you are suggesting in terms of thinking outside of the box and solving the actual problem rather than just making it bigger. Personally I think the size is perfect, but I *do* have trouble reading some things so a solution that somehow addresses that without increasing phone size would be cool . . actually what I'd prefer is to leave the phone alone and fix my eyesight instead ;-)

kataran says:

I think the iPhone 5 is huge I'm just starting to get use to it. Summer time is very hard to carry anything bigger than a three inch phone bring back the Yesteryear

Sent from the iMore App

Emeroid says:

Remember, bigger screen ≠ bigger phone.

richard451 says:

Again, you confuse smartphone sales with activations. grr. Anyhoo. Apple is falling farther behind in the market. For almost a year now Apple have not grown as fast as the market (which means they are underperforming). Is the 5" phone the reason? Maybe, but Apple has to do something as the market is passing them by.

Rene Ritchie says:

Android phone may have slowed down in North America recently, that could also be a trend. Is that because they went too big and will need to release smaller phones in reaction? Fun game!

I also didn't count Apple Store sales, where there are no larger options, and which may indicate an even less enthusiastic customer base for giant sized products (in North America).

If you want to claim absence of context, bring some better context! :)

richard451 says:

It's definitely possible, but the fact remains that Apple is growing slower than the marketplace and companies like Samsung are not. You also seem to be unaware that there are 4" Android phones in the market (although perhaps you also think Apple should make a 4" phone to stop contracting). Research is a friend, use it.

Apple needs to do something or they will follow the same path as others who were in the same trap did.

Jim Gramze says:

The growing markets are not Apple's market, it is a market of poor people who cannot afford Apple. That Foxcon's net profit is up 41% in the last quarter from making the iPhone 5, right before the next model is to be introduced, is very impressive. Apple is doing more than fine.

The whole issue with screen size has to do with making a larger screened phone that is also up to Apple's high standards. Color, brightness, contrast, battery life, compatibility with legacy software, availability of parts, etc. It is enough for developers to adjust their apps to a new viewmaster parallax along with other paradigm shifts without also worrying about scaling to yet another screen size. When all the pieces fall together into a magnificent whole Apple will then move, not before.

Premium1 says:

Yet apple has iphones on prepaid carriers so your only rich people buy it is so off. The iPhone isn't elite anymore. I see more poor people on food stamps carrying I phones than I do them using android.

Jim Gramze says:

That isn't my experience (food stamps (bridge cards?)), but I do believe you've seen that. My experience is that when I go to McDonald's I see everyone using Samsung phones and various brand PC laptops, and when I go to the Barnes & Noble book store coffee shop I see 80% Apple devices (I actually did the math).

NickA says:

The whole Android activation thing is a scam. No one really knows what that means, and what counts/doesn't count. Seems like they are activating more devices each week than there are people in the world. It's a useless number.

richard451 says:

Agreed. Unfortunately I'm discussing NPD/Gartner/IDC numbers.

rogifan says:

I knew Rene would find a way to get "objectify" and "gamify" in to this post. :)

Rene Ritchie says:

And dynamic! But it's important to understand Apple's strategy going forward.

Adem Reka says:

This gamify, objectify is pure speculation. The Mc Tube app new icon for ios 7 seems like a cartoon. Terrible. I like ios 7 but don't tell us the obejctify and gamify idiotic phrases. Is just a normal os and i bet that android will surpas ios in 2 years if apple continue with this gamify and objectify shit. I buy apple products only for build quality and if the next year Htc comes with something better than the One i will switch from this shitified os :)

leathernuts#WP says:

I don't agree about people picking the smaller screen iPhone (iPhone 4 & 4S) over the iPhone 5 as proof that a smaller screen is sometimes preferred. That (IMO) was economics, as in the they were less expensive, and consumers simply did not want to spend more just to have the 5.

I just switched from my iPhone 5 to the Galaxy S4. The bigger screen is nice. However, the iPhone 5 fit my hands way better, so there is definitely pros and cons. I would agree that 4.5-4.7" screen would be ideal. Apple could certainly increase the size of the current iPhone, but not go overboard like android. Needless to say, I'm on the fence right now on whether to switch permanently (to android). I have my 5 right here next to me, but this isn't a android vs iOS debate, its about size-apparently SIZE does matter.

revtech says:

http://img.talkandroid.com/uploads/2013/08/verizon-htc-one-blue.png

Give me this color with ios7 and I'll be throwing money at the screen . . .

Blurbia says:

You claim most people "prefer" small screens, based off how many people choose the iphone vs others. HOWEVER, there's no choice in a 5" iphone, so you can't make that claim. (Some people like apple/iphone and will suffer through the small screen even though they would prefer 4.5"-5".) I for one would most likely switch to iphone if the 6 were 4.5"-5" (and not just longer). (Thunderbolt -> Lumia 928)

mase123987 says:

My brother currently has a 3gs and plans on getting a phone with a 5in or bigger screen. I am pretty sure he would just stay with Apple if that was an option.

GOPphil81 says:

Am I the only one that doesn't want a bigger phone? I hate the 5 it's too awkward to hold and type on. I really want a 3.5" new iPhone. If apple makes all their phones 5" then I will leave the iPhone and find something els.

snookasnoo says:

Apple can offer choice like everyone else does. The primary reason they like one screen size is it saves them money in manufacturing.

CrzyP says:

I'm for a bigger screen and that is why I left Apple for Android. Apple has so much money that nothing should be that difficult for Apple to conquer.

cardfan says:

We'll have to think about this in the context of next year. That's when the 5C is outselling the 5S big time.

I think it's a fallacy to jump to conclusions that there's not much demand for big screen phones because Apple is doing well enough currently. Let's just say they'd be doing much better if the 5" was an option. Many jump to android for just that reason that would rush to get an iphone instead. In fact, this is pretty obvious to me. I'm not sure what we're still trying to make the case for it. It's as obvious as the idea that a 7" ipad would be a hit.

I'd like a bigger phone as long as the screen is very good. But I'm not about to leave iOS for it because I pick OS and ecosystem first. So the want for a big screen is there.

MacTaylor says:

I'm jumping in on this. I was an avid and dedicated iPhone user for years. My last iPhone was the iPhone 4 and I got it when it was first released. Albeit a great phone for its time, after a year and a software update or two.... the damn thing lagged so much texting and web surfing became damn near impossible. I had maybe 8 non stock apps on my phone and yes I force closed them all and the problem never ceased. I reset the software to stock and the phone was never jailbroken. This happened with my 3G as well when it first came out and there were no apps for it at the time as the app store wasn't even around until a little after I got it. In any case I also found the screen to be too small. I find myself squinting a lot even with my contacts. I don't want to have to change font and then zoom in and out just to read a text... that's plainly idiotic. Watching videos was also horrible as I had to have the phone cm from my face to see it properly. Now that I have my Samsung Galaxy Note 2, these issues were fixed. The videos are clear and in HD quality. My phone is lightning fast. Even after the update I got software wise the phone speed hasn't declined. My phone does not glitch out like most assume. I can use it one handed easily and I have small hands. It fits into my pockets even in form fitting pants. And I'm not someone who needs a tough case for their phone so I have no extra bulk added to it. At 5.5 inches this screen is perfect. I don't need the phone so close to my damn face. I would definitely switch back to Apple again if they made the screen bigger not longer; 5 inches would be perfect. Mind you they need to maintain retina with that 5 inches. Also they need the "overrated" features that Samsungs have as I use them all the time (S Beam, Multi window, stock swype keyboard, Share shot, etc.) And no using an iPad for a phone isn't the same as using mine. Having this phone I can't go back to a smaller screen.

On a bonus note. My sister who has a Samsung Galaxy S2 which was released the same year as the iPhone 4S still hasn't slowed down and has been updated several times. My aunt and uncle's iPhone 4S' s are too slow for them to text like my 4 was. I'm not in anyway bashing Apple as I love and have a Macbook. I also heavily utilize iTunes (Yes you can sync it with an Android using an app called Easy phone sync). But iPhones are slacking and need to be redone.

finn5975 says:

Why the need to maintain retina when the resolution on your Note 2 is a dismal 264ppi? And yes I did have the Note 2 and say what you want its screen is nowhere near as sharp as the 5. Why does the next iphone need S bump and share shot when IOS 7 is brining the same functionality via airdrop without the need to "bump" phones lol. Even with the ram and processor in that thing, it lagged. You can claim all day it does not but we all know better. I'm 6'7" with huge hands....it is not comfortable one handed and in regular jeans the thing looks like a damn notebook is in the pocket. Sorry to debunk your claims.....but the insanity of it all was too much for me to handle.

MacTaylor says:

Because even with my dismal 264 ppi the screen is quite clear and with a bigger screen Apple may compromise the resolution of retina and wasn't that one of Apple's biggest pitches for its mobile handsets? I agree the screen isn't as sharp as the 5 but with a screen as big as the Note 2 obviously the smaller screen has less to compensate for resolution wise. And I would like to have my S Beam because iOS 7's Airdrop requires a data plan or internet connection to utilize and Canadian carriers aren't known for cheap data rates like America ones. Besides; using a basic data plan (100mb per month) or basic wifi connection you cannot transfer 1.5GB movie files in under 3 minutes can you? And as far as lag goes; it depends on the user. Most normal users won't see lag because they won't be running too much crap such as apps or dozens of widgets, etc. It may not be comfortable in hand if you've only used it for a week but I've had the phone for 8 months now and wouldn't trade up for the iPhone 5. Obviously both handsets have their issues and I won't deny that the iPhone has the best camera for a smart phone on the market at this point and time... (feel free to deny this and praise windows users). I'm 5'3" though and most people barely notice the phone in my pocket. I will eventually move back to the iPhone if Samsung doesn't do much more with it's devices and software *ahem* Galaxy S4, Samsung Mega. But all I'm saying for discussion is that Apple needs to keep up. NFC technology is the trend and should be implemented as such. One of the things I do enjoy about Androids is the ability to play any video file and not have to stick to just .mov or .mp4 without jailbreaking. The widgets are a nice touch although I don't use a whole lot of them. It comes down to preference and I still love and respect Apple products. Just not iPhones at the moment.

Just to stroke Apple's ego they have a near perfect customer support system and awesome warranty policy. They do have the most solid eco system and lack of true fragmentation does make for a better appeal to newer users. Also the build of the iPhone is phenomenal and I do miss that as well. However; my Android and I will enjoy our time as iOS 7 looks like a joke anyways. The colours on there look like a 9 year old designed it.

akdj says:

A) Have your aunt and uncle reset their 4s. Hold the home and power buttons down til you see the Apple logo. Once in a while, they'll need to shut the phone down and turn it back on;). It's no slouch---and much faster than the GS2 (I owned one---my wife has the 4s)...and it definitely isn't too slow to 'text'. No lag, whatsoever doing any of the basic tasks it's as fluent as can be and certainly able to run any of the current offerings in the "App" store as well---Lag Free. The 4s is still and extremely formidable phone for it's age.
B) I can't get rid of my 'contracted' Note 2 fast enough. We bought a pair for our business and to use specifically for clients signing contracts and 'Square' payment receipts/transactions. I'm extremely put off by the Note2 and in no way does it compare to my iPhone 5 and it's plethora of usable apps and software....as well as it's reliability, battery life and everything about it's integration with our Mac Gear. As a long time owner of both Android and iOS devices---I'm about done buying and trying the 'Droid gear. iOS to me---> Unlike to you is the absolute must have operating system. I don't really care about the OS as much as I do the invaluable eco-system, software (for what we do---music, video, photography...and my son is really into the 'gaming' side of iOS), and reliability/post purchase support. My first Note2 had some serious issue about 45 days after buying it. Going through AT&T wasn't an option...I had to go through Samsung, and THAT my friend was an absolute nightmare!
Just reading the IDC(?) stat the other day about folks buying their 'next' phone. 3 times as many Android owners are choosing to buy an iOS device----where one in 4 current iPhone owners are considering buying an Android smart phone. That's pretty strong IMO. Though competition is good...as I think we're going to see with both iOS7 and Mavericks!
Good time to be a 'geek'

snookasnoo says:

I want a bigger phone. 5 " or even a little bigger. I think Apple is leaving money and mind share on the table by having one size. It is a convenience for them not their customers to have one size.
I'm also not thrilled with many aspects of iOS 7 and I am even more reminded of how I have no choice in the matter, I have to take what Apple gives me.
I'm a dev tester of iOS 7 on my iPhone 5 and iPad 4 and an Appleseed tester of Mavericks on my MBP Retina. I have had every iPhone and Mac's since the 128k in 1984 and I'm thinking seriously of switching to Android.

Plazmic Flame says:

Just want a bigger iPhone for true all day battery life, like Galaxy-Note-2-type battery life. Take it off the charger in the morning and not have to use the charger until 10-11pm at night.

akdj says:

You may want to have your Note2 checked out----or maybe you don't have one? The iPhone 5 is still one of the excellent energy (battery life performers) as far as reviews are concerned. I've got both the Note 2 and the iPhone 5...the 5 easily trumps the GNote2's battery life
Here's a link to Anand's batttery life stats
http://anandtech.com/show/6386/samsung-galaxy-note-2-review-t-mobile-/4
As far as talk time...if you look towards the other reviews, including the iPhone 5, talk time is just under 9 hours. Are you talking that much during a work day? I think the ONLY situation, and only by a few minutes...maybe a half hour that the Note 2 trumps the battery life of the iPhone 5 is tethering. But when it comes to watching movies, listening to music, surfing (regardless, LTE or WiFi), et al---the iPhone 5 is still a monster. In fact, on Wifi surfing...even the 4s has a bit better battery life than the GNote 2. On LTE---the Note2 beats the 4s by an hour (5 hours vs. 6) if you're not into reading the link

J

Traverse1 says:

I don't know about anyone else, but for me personally I would love a 4.3 inch iPhone. I think that's the perfect size for mobility and consumption, and I could still use it with on hand somewhat. I could live with 4.5, but I wouldn't love it.

Gazoobee says:

I don't think enough mention is made of the one-handed operation thing. It's really, really important.

I have yet to see a single person using a Samsung phone (and there are a lot around right now) that isn't using it with two hands. You just can't use those things with one hand and like it or not that's a disadvantage.

It also comes down to typing. No one wants to admit it but lots of folks have trouble with typing on the phone (mostly because they never followed advice on how to use it), and the big phones are better for their fumbling fingers.

Plazmic Flame says:

...and obviously, using two hands isn't a problem for all those people you're seeing. It's just a problem for you. Which is gone but obviously there's another segment of people who don't care about one-handed usability.

Personally, I'm at that point now. I would much rather get a larger iPhone for more battery life than worry about one-handed use because when the battery is drained, one-handed use does nothing for me.

Gazoobee says:

I'm not saying it's a "problem" to use two hands, both types of phones can be used with two hands. I'm saying it's an advantage (a large one) to also be able to use it with one hand.

josuts says:

Hallo to everyone here!

Personally i would also like a little bigger iphone! I had touch and play a little with the galaxy s4 and the Note 2 but its too big for my hands and my use! I believe a 4.3 inch screen will be excellent cause don't forget that nomatter how many things a mobile device does these days it still remains a phone for its basic use and it would be nice to still fit in the hands and pockets!:-)

mrjspeed says:

I agree with your jab at the Android OEM's calling 4.3 inches "mini"

2007: iPhone was released and Jobs described the 3.5 inch screen as a "huge gorgeous display" during the keynote. Press and users alike agreed.
2010: HTC release the EVO 4G at 4.3 inches. Tech community calls 4.3 inches huge, 4.0 is "just right."

2012: 4.5 - 4.6 inch phones are being released. Tech community calls 4.6 inches huge, 4.3 is "just right."

2013: 4.8 - 5.0 inch phones are being released. Tech community calls 5.0 inch phones huge, 4.5 is "just right."

I honestly think the main reason OEMs move bigger and bigger is to fit a larger battery so the phones can last longer due to Android's inefficient abstraction.

CueBall909 says:

I've said it before in these articles and I'll say it again, the feature I want most from my next phone is a larger screen (at least 4.5", but not over 5"). The iPhone 5's longer screen was a mistake on Apple's part. While it allowed them to increase the screen real estate slightly and fit an extra row of icons, they should have stuck with a 4:3 screen and increased size diagonally. That would have allowed them to only "de-retina" slightly (a .5" diagonal increase in size is only a 12.5% increase, so only a 12.5% decrease in resolution over the iPhone 4S retina screen) while getting a more usable screen. Then, increasing again would not be such a chore because everything would still be 4:3 instead of two different screen sizes AND two different ratios. Making the 5 taller than the 4S is only really an improvement for video and a few other apps. It doesn't make the keyboard any more useful, it doesn't give more room for text in portrait mode, etc.

I'm very invested in the Apple ecosystem, having Macs, an iPad, and an iPhone...but if Apple doesn't release a larger screen iPhone soon they are going to lose me as a customer. And not only will they be losing my phone business, but switching to Android will give me a very compelling reason to start using Google's services over Apple's. iCloud is simply not good enough to keep people from jumping ship and most of Google's other competitive apps are much better and more mature than Apple's. Apple NEEDS to keep people like me using the iPhone or they're going to lose a whole lot more than just handset sales revenue.

JNGold says:

"Apple NEEDS to keep people like me using the iPhone or they're going to lose a whole lot more than just handset sales revenue."

But people like you are continuing to buy all sorts of iPhones (ip4, 4s, 5, soon 5s/c) in record numbers.

CueBall909 says:

Not people like me, no. I'm still using a three year old iPhone 4 because the iPhone 5 isn't an upgrade as far as I'm concerned. If Apple releases a larger iPhone (with a *wider*, not just taller, screen), then I'll stick with Apple. If they don't, I'll trudge along with my iPhone 4 until it finally breaks or the battery becomes useless, at which point I'll start shopping for an Android replacement. When that happens I'll abandon iCloud and move back over to Google's services (which I was using prior to iCloud's existence).

I'm not the only one. One of my close friends is still using her iPhone 4, another is sticking with his iPhone 4S. Both have said they are waiting for an iPhone with a larger screen. If Apple doesn't deliver, they'll go elsewhere.

Gazoobee says:

I think you just destroyed all your credibility here. You first say (very adamantly) that you want a larger phone and goddam it where is it? Then you say that you haven't upgraded to Apple's larger screen phone because you don't see it as a significant upgrade. That's just weird and silly.

CueBall909 says:

I think you have poor reading comprehension. Several people in this thread (including myself) have said why the iPhone 5s bigger screen isn't really bigger at all. Sure, it's technically larger, but only in height. Well that does diddly squat for people who want a larger keyboard, larger text when using the phone in portrait mode, etc. By simply making the screen taller, Apple did, in fact, make the iPhone's screen larger, but they didn't make it any more usable. Not only that, but the biggest iPhone screen is only 4" diagonally. This entire article is about a 5" iPhone and virtually every single pro-large screen comment specifically mentions 4.3" as a minimum with 4.5-4.7" being the most commonly requested size. So even the iPhone 5's "big" screen is puny in comparison to a large number of competing devices.

akdj says:

New study just posted....Android users, 3 times more likely to buy an iPhone when their subsidy is up. iOs users, 5 of 6 will buy an iPhone for their next purchase;)

Apple isn't concerned with 'people like you'. Their concerned about the masses, excellent build quality, an excellent app and development community and extraordinary post purchase support. Not to mention an incredibly efficient OS/UI that regardless of 'guts' and 'specs' is as fluent a phone as can be found on the market. Maybe you SHOULD update your '4' and see how far iOS/iCloud has come, as you're using a three year old phone!
Good Luck with your foray into the world of Android...I've been brand agnostic for the past three years and have owned handsets from both companies, including each iteration of the iPhone. I'm done with Android when my Note 2 contract is up.

Chuck08 says:

I'd be all for a bigger screen but not 5". My sister has a S3 and it's just too big. What if instead of making a bigger phone and just drop the physical home button instead. Got out a handy dandy ruler and on my iPhone 5 if they drop the physical home button and replace it with a virtual one, the screen size would be around 4.5" but the phone would stay the same physical size. This would of course do away with the mythical fingerprint scanner in the home button but wasn't there a patent for putting the scanner on the screen itself (i.e. swiping across the screen to unlock/scan)?

weberm13 says:

Increasing the screen length-wise would defeat the purpose of a bigger screen, and make it even harder to reach the top of the screen with your thumb. The best reason for a bigger screen is to make it easier to type (at least IMHO). Increasing it top-to-bottom does nothing to make it easier to type.

relentlessFocus says:

At one of the recent quarterly report conference calls Tim answered the question of would Apple make a larger phone. He said, (paraphrasing) " I'm not in theory against it, certain number of people want one, but up to now the screens have been poor and the battery life is not satisfactory"

My take was that he was saying "Yes" because both of those "reasons" are eminently addressable by Apple R&D.

It's my understanding that these big phones are very popular in Asia, maybe more so than in the West. With a China Mobile deal now looking like a done deal I think we'll see one sooner rather than later but not before the end of the year and maybe not until next Sept.

If so, I'll be in the queue.

weberm13 says:

Abandoning the current screen resolutions and going with something more standard would be the best thing for Apple. Eventually they will need to increase screen resolution, even if they stick with a 4" screen. Having doubling the pixel resolution is a corner they have backed themselves into. Choosing something more standard would be painful for developers, but like how customers got used to the Lightning connector and Final Cut Pro X, developers would get used to it, and in the end it would be better for everyone as the older resolutions died out.

If they increased the screen resolution to 1080p they would be able to make any size phone they wanted to, without ever hurting developers again. It would essentially future proof the iPhone's screen until we start seeing 4X screens which will probably not happen for a decade.

Apple could ease the pain of a new 1080p screen if they went to a more resolution independant SDK like they have on OS X. Then no matter what resolution/DPI the screen ends up at the app designs would look fine.

In the end, though, I don't need a 5" screen. I think that is too big. 4.3-4.8" is the right range. My dream is to be able to type on the iPhone without hitting multiple keys at once. A slightly wider screen would do this for me. This, however, shows the problem with Apple making more than one size screen: they'll never choose the right size for everyone. Once you get past the 3.5-4" screen size, the market gets very fractured. A small amount of people (as this article states) want a bigger size. The problem is that when you split that market down into screen sizes, the market gets even smaller. The market for a 5" screen is smaller than the market for the whole "large screen" market. That means that your point about adding addition market possibilities wouldn't necessarily come to fruition because of that fragmentation of market. Apple may be better just choosing one size, as they have done, and sticking to it. Then just worrying about increasing the resolution for that size over time.

Gazoobee says:

Your argument makes no sense to me. You talk about "standard" and 1080p, but in common usage, 1080p is short for a standard *ratio* and a certain level of clarity, not a standard screen size. A ratio (and clarity) that they actually adopted when they came out with the iPhone 5.

Additionally, Apple moving to "full" 1080p in every sense of the word, would just mean increasing the pixel density on the iPhone 5 from 1136x640 to 1917x1080 which may indeed happen someday, but given that the screen is already "retina" and that the pixels are therefore already below the threshold of human detection in normal use, what would be the point?

You also argue that they don't need a 5" screen (and I agree), but unless they are going to increase the physical size of the screen, again … what's the point of moving to full 1080p?

In short, Apple already supports the most common standard and already supports the largest screen that you think is useful at the highest resolution necessary for that size. I don't see what your point is.

weberm13 says:

There are (in theory) an infinite number of resolutions that can fit into a 16:9 aspect ratio. Saying that they support that is meaningless. Moving to 1080p (Which is 1920 x 1080 not 1917 x 1080 as you say) allows Apple to keep the aspect ratio, but increase the resolution, which are two different things.

My point was that moving to 1080p would give Apple a reasonable amount of time before they would have to upgrade the screen resolution (not aspect ratio) again. 1080p is where most phone manufacturers will be for the next 5 years at least. Apple could, in theory, produce any size iPhone (with a 16:9 aspect ratio) they wish. Of course the larger the screen they produce, the lower the pixel density. That's why I argue that a screen size just slightly larger than 4" is the best way to go.

Moving to 1080p would give them extra pixels should they increase the screen size to 4.3". That would make it much easier to type, would compete better in the marketplace, without becoming too huge to handle. That's my point.

Becjr says:

I still remember the initial transitions that the first generations of cell phones made, from being the size of your head to the small enough to fit in an average sized pocket. Now, just like everything else seems too, many people are clamoring for larger phones... Meh. I feel that anything larger than the iPhone 5 starts taking the cell [smart] phone out of being a highly compact communication(s) device. I certainly don't want a bigger screen. Anything requiring more screen real estate should relegate itself to larger screen space... That's partly why we have TVs and computers, yes?

davjaxn says:

I think it's important to note that people choose the iPhone in spite if its smaller display, not because of it. Give an iPhone a 4.5"-5" display (larger all around, not just taller) and it will still sell just as well, maybe even better

Digitalrex says:

A bigger iPhone is most likely inevitable but I wouldn't want one bigger then the iPhone 5 I already have, it really is the perfect size in my opinion so lets hope Apple gives us both.

ctt1wbw says:

Screen size is one the main things that Android fanboys use to say that Android is better than the iPhone. But no matter how many times I say it, they don't understand: screen size is not an inherent ability of an operating system.

akdj says:

Agree 100%! And it's the OS that's most important, no? From there, the options (software, apps) second most....IMHO, anyway. Finally---as far as screen size, if you take that away from the picture---the display on the current iPhone 5 is absolutely incredible. You can easily read it in the direct sunlight, the colors are brilliant, contrast phenomenal, the calibration 'from the factory' is probably better than most folks have ever had the pleasure of owning 'display-wise', whether it be their TV, their computer displays, etc....I think that's one BIG thing that is overlooked in this entire bigger is better argument. AMOLED isn't comparable to the IPS technology used on the iPhones.
Sorry---tangent there. I just wanted to comment my absolute agreement with your statement, the ability of the OS/UI and it's inherent ability to work with every device made by Apple not to mention the incredible development community and software choices--->I'm not at all bothered by an extra third of an inch on my display if it means giving up everything else that goes along with iPhone/iOS ownership. (And I own a couple of Android devices currently---the Note2 and the Xoom as well, my wife has one of the Note tablets).
J

ArgonNJ#CB says:

The iphone screen is too small, plain and simple.

Daniel0418 says:

The Galaxy S4 is 5 inches and is selling almost the same amount of phones as the 4" iPhone. Then there is the note that is selling huge as well. And then there is the Nexus 4 which is doing well. The HTC One has a 4.7" display. The old Galaxy S3 was 4.8". The new Moto X and entire Droid line is all over 4". The wildy successful HTC EVO 4G was 4.3". Then the Lumia 920 line which is having moderate success on a below the quality line smartphone OS has a huge screen. Yet you think it is a myth that bigger screen phones are popular. I find that interesting. But I guess we just defend Apples unwillingness to change until? They are in a similar situation to Blackberry or Nokia? They should make phones people want and we shouldn't pretend the tides aren't changing. If Apple continues to make tiny screen, Android will continue to grow at iOS' expense.

akdj says:

The S4 isn't selling NEARLY as many units as the iPhone 5... nor is the Note2. It's not even close...I believe the i5 sold 5 million units the opening weekend....and last quarter, nearly 35 million iPhones. Samsung doesn't release specific device numbers, but it took nearly a year to sell (last year) as many GSIIIs as the iPhone 4s sold in the last quarter of the year.

Jim Gramze says:

I wish my iPad 3 were larger. A big reason I have an iPhone is that it is such a wonderful extension of my Mac Pro and iPad. My phone is a phone first, a camera second, a music player, a toy when my wife is reading every ingredient on every container at the store, and access to my data in a pinch. It is bizarre to me that people want so much from a large-screened phone, sad even. I surf on a "full sized" tablet and that is as small as I care to go, but in a pinch my iPhone 5 works.

The 3GS was the most pleasurable to hold in the hand because of the curved back and overall size. The only reason I would get the biggest screened phone was if it were my only device. Fortunately I am not stuck making that decision. Three devices are best if you can swing it. When I'm out and about my nose is not stuck in a screen because I'm taking a break from doing so all day long with a much better screen than any phone provides.

Xytal says:

4.2/4.3" is the sweet spot; it's the size I've always wanted since phones started to get bigger. I enjoy putting my phone in side pockets (like in carpenter jeans), and a 5" phone is not going to fit in one (4.3" is pushing it). I dislike having to have my phone in my front pocket.

It seems to me people keep wanting these bigger phones, but don't think about where they are going to carry them. Pockets are only so large. Once the phones are big enough, where are people going to carry them? We all going to have special bags just for our phones now?

I, personally, do not want to have an iPad Mini up next to my head. Not gonna happen. Keep phones under 5". A cell phone is supposed to be portable.

Sent from the iMore App

mdbandit1010 says:

"Back in January of 2013, 9 out of 10 customers on AT&T chose the 3.5 or 4-inch iPhone over all other smartphones, including all bigger smartphones, combined. 6 out of 10 customers on Verizon did likewise. In the last quarter, reported in July of 2013, more than 5 out of 10 customers on both AT&T and Verizon still chose the 3.5 or 4-inch iPhone over all other smartphones"

I smell BS!!!

android owns 80% of the smartphone market compared to 14% for apple. I was never a great mathematician but this surely doesnt add up!!!

If 90% (per ATnT) are buy the lil kiddie screen like that, Apple really shouldnt have a desire to build bigger then. Thats of course IF these amazing stats are true

williamsbh76 says:

I think you are thinking of world wide number, Not US numbers.

williamsbh76 says:

Great article and great points as always Rene. One thought I have to expand on some of what you said: You talked about how so many people go with iOS over other smartphones even though the other guys make bigger phones. Apple had a similar situation with the iPad when they introduced the iPad Mini. The smaller, 7 inch tablets were not cutting into iPad sales as much as Android and other platforms cut into iphone sales. It was not and, for most intents and purposes still is a "tablet market" as much as it is an "iPad market." However, Apple brought their own smaller and lower cost tablet to market any way that not only cut into sales of other small tablets, but began to cannibalize its own larger iPad sales. Manufacturing and quality concerns aside, isn't the more highly competitive smartphone market more of a reason to get a larger iPhone out the door and give Apple three ways to penetrate sales (considering we see a lower cost iPhone this year)? I know Apple will not address this until they are ready to roll the device, but I have to hope that they are putting a lot more into this than we give them credit for and realize that waiting a whole year for their typical product cycle in fall 2014 simply isn't the way to go.

Deepak K says:

I stick to my point that even though I would like a bigger iPhone, probably 4.3" or 4.7", I would not want it at the cost of one hand usability.

http://thefrustum.com/blog/2013/8/14/what-should-the-next-gen-iphones-ha...

PreJamison says:

I've had all sorts of screen sizes - Palm Pre - HTC EVO - HTC One X+ - Note 2 - iPhone 5.

One handed usability for a phone is key. But, having to turn the iPhone on its side to read certain text defeats that objective. The 4.3 EVO was by far my favorite screen size. Not too big . . . Not too small. I found it struck the proper balance to achieve one handed use most of the time.

I think the swipe to go back gesture found in iOS7 (instead of reaching to the top left back button) sets things up for the larger screen while maintaining one handed use.

My hope is that we will see a larger (wider) screen with the iPhone 6. Apple never seems to give us everything at once. They give us just enough new stuff each year to make us want to upgrade - not a bit more. Exclusive features with the "S" versions and totally new hardware design with the numerical increases e.g. 4-5-6.

Looking fwd to iOS7!

nat750 says:

Galaxy S4 is making a lot of people think. More control over your OS is also making people switch. So it's not just size but the different options should be there instead of Apple trying to tell you what's the best size. Steve Jobs was very controlling & when there wasn't decent enough competition for the iPhone people stayed with it & just jailbroke for more control over the OS . That's not so anymore & people are no longer afraid to SWITCH to get what they want.

nat750 says:

.....also forget one handed usability I've got fairly big hands & don't think the iphone 5 is easy to use one handed so I think there will be a lot of people out there who are now using two hands for iPhone use as standard.

manand_nz says:

Bang on !

Sent from the iMore App

manand_nz says:

Sure Apple has its way of interpreting problems and presenting solutions.

However - double click home button for inter app switching/multi tasking and content sharing/exchange is still in stone ages IMHO.
You could say IOS 7 may be a beg for software transformation but that remains to be seen.

Couple of my friends jump ship just cause they can't even share songs across...

They got the width of the iPhone 5 screen wrong aesthetically no matter why n how and saying it's functionally optimized is highly debatable.

The top and bottom 1" bezel must go so there's more real estate without the actual phone size change.

My 3GS had no problems with home button or vibratory motor unlike my iPhone 4S.
That's not progress.

They should invest in radio antenna tech where're real battery savings are if they haven't already. Plenty articles avail to that effect.
Where's the next gen battery tech ?

Sent from the iMore App

mjcarter says:

Did anybody else notice that in the stats that Rene was listing, the number of people buying iPhones was decreasing while the number of people buying larger phones was increasing?

MatttMN says:

To be honest, as I am about to making the switch from Android to iPhone 5S, screen size is my biggest concern. As my phones grew in size, I kept thinking bigger may not be better, but just too big. However, my 4.7" is great - fits in the pocket well, nice view. 5" might be too big, but when I compare mine to my wife's 4" iphone5, I definitely prefer the 4.7" size.

Anto234 says:

Ohh please, what do u need the big screen for? Even the iphone 4s is already a perfect size for me... I tried the galaxy s 4 just a week and give it away to other family member, really cannot hold it steadily.... Bad design and size, samsung.

Allan k1 says:

Try the HTC one, the phone fits perfectly for me... I am only 5 5. It might be the design and slightly smaller screen. What you all don't realize is that right now apple sales are down significantly, even over last quarter for iPhones. The situation is starting to look bad, its going down exponentially... If it continues apple will not be a large player anymore. The smaller iPhone is starting to really hit their marketshare. You cannot blame it on the release date, as it was it was the same last year. The marketshare is now somewhere in the region of 10% worldwide.

It is the lack of things like: more ram, quad core, larger screen. For the viability of the company, they need to add these things in september and not next year.

Mahendra Shah says:

Totally agree with you...but Apple is stuck in its stubborn set up.I wish they would see sense in what people are asking for...HARDWARE IS SIMPLY MORE IMPORTANT ...IT IS A MATERIAL PRODUCT ...THEN GET THE SOFTWARE TO TALLY UP TO THE HARDWARE....all that money in the coffers going to waste...do something ...research and develope what people want.

Brett Vance says:

With 28 devices connected at our 8 family member Labor Day gathering, and me having the only large Android in a family of Apple, this discussion came up. Conclusion: Everyone would like a larger device, but all keep trading in for new iPhone because of the investment in and love of the Apple ecosystem. From air play to icloud and the ease of use, everyone in my camp stays put. If they build a larger device people will buy it, and they will show up at our next Labor Day.

Allan k1 says:

Yes, I agree with you on all points. Google/android/vendors do not make the software and service right on android at all. I have learned that. I am willing to make sacrifices for the larger screen size. Personally, Android is a buggy mess compared to my iPhone. I know apple could do it much better. When my new android phone bugs out (often)- I want to throw it against the wall... But, apple won't do a bigger screen. I won't upgrade with them until they do.

Flocko Gs says:

If apple would make the iPhone screen size at least 4.5 inches it would have me locked, I would ditch android entirely, apple you would get so many more customers back if u did this...

southsam7 says:

Author is obviously an iClone

Mahendra Shah says:

I will always love the ipod touch...but I want a large screen ipod touch....smaller than an ipad mini and about six inches in screen size so that it is easily pocketable and to also carry around in a purse.I do not much care about what size an iphone gets to be but I will always want a media device which is smaller than the mini ipad and much larger than the ipod touch...but I guess Apple will never go for the idea of a jumbo ipod/baby ipad....BUT I WISH IT DID....

swingdancer says:

Plain and simple a 4 inch screen is just to darn small and boring! especially the older you get!

kyussmondo3 says:

I am hoping they don't make a bigger screen. The iOS interface is so well designed it doesn't need a big screen. When I am at home browsing the web and reading then I use my iPad Mini. I have no use for a large screen.