iPhone 6: Why Apple Made Massive New iPhones

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The new iPhone is too big, it is too heavy and it is too difficult to use one-handed.

I predict these will be the main criticisms of the new iPhone 6 models after Apple finally announces them tomorrow. They were also the main criticisms of the original iPhone when Apple launched it in 2007. Apple got away with it then and I’m convinced Apple will get away with it this time – but for very different reasons.

Whereas Apple led a form factor revolution in 2007, it now follows. Samsung is the undisputed driver of big screen smartphones and arguably the inventor of the so-called ‘phablet’. Apple critics are licking their lips, ready to bash the company with its famed ‘Think Different’ slogan. Meanwhile many long time iPhone users are concerned Apple has gone too far too late.

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The latter is a perspective I agree with. A gradual size increase as seen on Android and Windows Phone handsets would have made for an easier transition, but I also thinkApple has backed itself into a corner with no choice but to go big on going big . This is why:

Market Demand – Bigger Is Better

While big screen phones polarise opinion, it is clear the majority are in favour of them. Data released by analyst IDC last week shows year-on-year growth of phablets (defined as 5.5-inch to sub-7-inch devices) will increase by 209.6% in 2014 compared to just 12.8% growth in regular smartphones. Projecting this to 2018, IDC still sees phablet growth at 16.6% versus 3.2% for smartphones.

Growth markets are Apple’s focus. In the last 20 years it has hopped from desktop computers to laptops to MP3 players to smartphones to tablets and tomorrow will come big screen smartphones and a phablet. Apple’s business model requires high volume and high margins, the latter of which is eroded in mature, commodised markets. Big screen smartphones and phablets look set to avoid that stage for the next four years at least.


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